Papillons perdus dans la montagne (Butterflies Lost in the Mountain)

Óscar Domínguez

La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, 1906 - Paris, France, 1957

Papillons perdus dans la montagne (Butterflies Lost in the Mountain) might be the equal in terms of style and content to Óscar Domínguez’s most significant works. During his Paris period – so closely linked to Surrealism, and doubtless his best known and most highly praised phase – nostalgia for his Tenerife homeland made him paint pictures like this one, in which he depicts his father’s collection of butterflies, dried and conserved inside a case. Two women in clothes reminiscent of Guanche costume, high up on a mountain (possibly the Teide) gaze in worship at the carrying-case containing the paternal bequest. Other interpretations of the picture argue that it was a gift from the artist to Eduardo Westerdahl, director of the Gaceta de Arte in Tenerife, to commemorate the kite-flying action using black origami birds carried out by Pajaritas de Papel (Paper Birds), a group consisting of poets, actors and artists, founded in the Canary Islands in 1929 for cultural purposes.

Paloma Esteban Leal