Oscar Dominguez was born in the Canary Islands and had his first exhibition in 1933 at the Circulo de BellasArtes in Tenerife.
omínguez spent his youth with his grandmother in Tacoronte and devoted himself to painting at a young age after suffering a serious illness which affected his growth and caused a progressive deformation of his facial bone frame and limbs.
He went to Paris at 21 where he first worked for his father in the central market of Les Halles, and spent his nights drinking in cabarets. He then frequented some art schools, and visited galleries and museums.
Domínguez was rapidly attracted by avant-garde painters, notably Yves Tanguy and Pablo Picasso, whose influences were visible in his first works. At 25 he painted a self-portrait full of premonition as he showed himself with a deformed hand and with the veins of his arm cut. He chose to kill himself 27 years later by cutting his veins.
In 1933 Domínguez met André Breton, a theoretician of Surrealism, and Paul Éluard, known as the poet of this movement, and took part a year later in the Surrealist exhibition held in Copenhagen and those of London and Tenerife in 1936.
He took up the Russian-invented technique of decalcomania in 1936, using gouache spread thinly on a sheet of paper or other surface (glass has been used), which is then pressed onto another surface such as a canvas.
His 1937 oil painting The Infernal Machine sold for 2 770 000 FF (US $ 404,375) on June 8th 2000 at Drouot-Montaigne in Paris.
He was an active member of the surrealist movement in Paris from 1934 to 1940. He made many discoveries, like decalcomania and even action painting, but was unable to make full use of these in his paintings. His painting suffered after the war since he had been cast in the role of social entertainer. His dreams of tapestries and paintings on felt never came to pass.