From 1924 to 1925 Claude Domec learned the woodworking trade in a Parisian workshop. However, painting interested him. During his military service he has the opportunities to visit the studios of Gleizes, Delaunay, and Gondouin. From 1930 to 1936 he frequents some surrealists who come to see him in his workshop; Frankel, Desnos, Lariviere, Roux. He keeps his distance from the movement.
1902Born in Paris at la Monnale where his father, a native of Gascony, is employed as comma chef des travaux. His father invented a machine for metal milling that bears his name to this day.
His mother, from the Champagne district, will have a decisive influence on the life of the painter and on the destiny of his future painting.
The very strong attachment he always feels for his “petit Lyre” makes Marnay sur Seine his native village more than Paris.
1910 to 1919He does his secondary studies (high school) at Lycée Louis le Grand. His studies of the humanities, Greek and Latin influence him all his life.
1921 to 1923During his military service he meets and comes to know the painter, Cavalaire Emmanuel Gondouin (1888-1934). He develops his love and knowledge of the trade as carpenter and cabinet maker.
1924 to 1927He undertakes a serious apprenticeship in cabinet making and carpentry in a Paris studio and continues to develop the vocation of his passion for painting. He avoids the “pitfall” of attending the Ecole des Beaux when one day, Robert Delaunay tells his Father :
« If he enters the school of Beaux Arts, he will be …».
1927 to 1929His father retires. He follows his parents to his mother’s home region and settles in Marnay-sur-Seine. He builds a workshop to realize his dream of being a painter.
1930 to 1936He keeps in touch with some members of the Surrealist group: Fraenkel, Robert Desnos, Lariviere, Robert Lebel, Gaston Louis Roux who remain in the movement and often visit him in his village on the banks of the Upper
Seine. Domec’s spirit remains independent and determined in the countryside.
Throughout this period, Claude Domec still makes use of the usual oil painting technique. Paintings of some whimsical and wonderful countrymen with a lot of freshness and in a very affirmed personal style:
« Le vieux pont de Marnay ».
« Le chemineau ».
« L’innocent du village ».
« La bataille de la Marne ».
« Le premier avril au village ».
« Le calendrier éternel ».
He will also execute, in oil, tapestry sketches for the Mobilier Nation Municiplite d’Aubusson, thanks to the architect Lucien Rollin.
He changes the medium of his painting to using cold wax.
He creates the work, Pegase, which inspires a poem by Robert Desnos.
Participates in a group exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (USA) organized by Robert Lebel.
August 4, 1939
Leaves for the USA on a trip of a few months to collaborate with his brother-in-law Leon Kroll on a massive fresco for the Worcester War Memorial (Massachusetts). Taken by surprise with the declaration of War.
The events of 1940 keep him in the USA for the duration of World WarII. His paintings at home in France are stored in the castle of Seine-et-Oise for shelter against the hostilities. While continuing to paint, he earns his living working in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, restoring objects and ancient paintings, especially those of the Egyptian department.
He marries Suzanne Blumenthal in June of this year.
Andre Seligman organizes an exhibition of his works at the Koetser Gallery. The preface for the exhibition is written by Robert Lebel. There are 19 exhibited works, including:
« L’ange blessé ».
« Les colonnes du ciel ».
« Cités »… etc.
The birth of his first daughter, Sabine.
August 1944The castle of Seine-et-Oise, where his paintings were deposited before the war is burned by the Gestapo at the time of their retreat. Almost all of the painted work of Claude Domec prior to 1939 is destroyed.
End of 1945Returns to his native country: Marnay-sur-Seine and Paris.
1946Birth of his second daughter, Nicole. Exhibition at the galleries of the Elysee led by Andre Metthey. 14 paintings are presented including:« Le Bestiaire ».
« Vendanges et mirages ».
« L’orée du Bois Guillot »… etc.For the most part, the critics miss the poetic quality of these very personal paintings.
1950Leaves for the USA. This second stay extends through 1950.
1951Final return to France and his home in Marnay-sur-Seine.
1956Simone Collinet presents an exhibition of his paintings under the generic title of Geogonies.
October 1956Invited to submit a painting to the Salon de Surindependants held at the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysee in Paris. His work is noticed by curator at the Dijon Museum, Pierre Granville who writes of his “fascination with the unique beauty” of the painting in the midst of the the other paintings in the salon.
This initiates a long standing relationship between Granville and Domec.
1959 to 1963Pursuit of his painting largely in the Champagne region and also in a garret in Paris which serves as his studio. In 1962 begins the development and execution of his triptychs.
May/June 1964A presentation of four triptychs and recent works takes place “under the roofs of Paris”
November 1969Completion of a book of poems (Poesie) by Helene Sadoul and Homeomeries by Claude Domec presented with 6 photoengravings, bound in wood.
1980Traveling retrospective exhibition of 103 works of Claude Domec:
-From 29 March to 15 June, Musee de Beaux-Arts de Dijon
-From June through September, Maison d’Action Culturelle Thibaud de Champagne, Troyes
-From October 4 – November 8: Maison des Arts et Loisirs, Montbeliard
-15 November – 31 December 1980: Musee des Beaux-Arts de Reims
1902 – 1981