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Details & Cataloguing

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Oscar Dominguez
1906 - 1957
BATALLA OR LA VOLE LION (THE BATTLE OR THE FIGHTING LION)
signed Dominguez (upper right)
oil on canvas
64.5 by 91.5cm., 25 3/8 by 36in.
Painted circa 1940.
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The expert Ana Vázquez de Parga and the Curator of the Oscar Dominguez Collection in Tenerife, Isidro Hernández Gutiérrez, have confirmed the authenticity of this painting.

Provenance

André Breton, Paris
Galleria Levi, Milan (acquired in 1940)
Acoris, The Surrealist Art Centre, London
Sale: Ader, Tajan, 20th March 1990, lot 97
Galería Edurne, Madrid
Galería Vegueta, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Milan, Galleria Levi, 1974, no. 65

Literature

Fernando Castro, Óscar Domínguez y el Surrealismo, Madrid, 1978, no. 361, illustrated p. 174

Catalogue Note

During the 1940's, Oscar Domínguez’s paintings were strongly influenced by Pablo Picasso with whom the artist had become friends while living in Paris. Certainly, the influence of Picasso’s Guernica (1937) can be detected in the angular and dynamic forms of the present composition. The first owner of Batalla or La Vole Lion (The Battle or The Fighting Lion) was the leader of the Surrealist group André Breton. Breton’s fundamentally important role in the course of twentieth century art began with his friendship of Guillaume Apollinaire, who introduced him to Picasso, de Chirico and Derain. Throughout the 1930s in Paris and much of the 1940s in America, Breton acted as a critic and champion of these artists and his passionate avowal of their art led them to international recognition and acclaim. Understandably this also ensured that Breton possessed a diverse and truly exceptional collection of their best works, much of which has found its way into museums across the world, including the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Breton celebrated, among many others, the energised quality of Domínguez’s compositions in his 1939 Des tendances les plus récentes de la peinture surréaliste. Domínguez, he described, was a painter who could, 'with a movement of the arm as unstudied and quick as that of a window cleaner or the worker who, with the house finished, signs his name in blanc d'Espagne, use his brush to add diverse colours, stroke by stroke, and succeed in defining new spaces – barely marked or hinted at – that transport us into those realms of pure fascination that have remained unvisited since, as children, we contemplated colour images of meteors in books' (André Breton quoted in La Part du jeu et du rêve. Oscar Domínguez et le surréalisme 1906-1957 (exhibition catalogue), Musée Cantini, Marseille, 2005, p. 199, translated from the French).

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