Jean-Gabriel Domergue (French, 1889–1962) was a painter known for his portraits of Parisian women. Born in Bordeaux, Domergue studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and exhibited works at the Salon des Artistes Français at the age of 17. In 1920, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome.
Having already become well known for his landscapes, his career took a turn in the 1920s, during which time he became a painter of Parisian women. Later claiming to be the inventor of the pin-up, Domergue’s women were thin, airy, and elegant, with swanlike necks and wide eyes. Painting over 3,000 portraits over the course of his career, Domergue changed the way women were portrayed, breaking away from the traditional melancholic and vaporish poses.
In addition to his portraits of nudes, he was a highly sought after painter in aristocratic circles. He also designed numerous dresses, hats, and accessories for famous couturiers, such as Paul Poiret and Henry Marque.
Domergue was also one the main organizers of famous Parisian gala events, such as The Venetian Ball at the Opera in 1922.
In 1955, he was appointed curator at the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris 1955. Under his leadership, numerous exhibitions were held. Most notable were his tributes to Leonardo da Vinci, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, Berthe Morisot, and Francisco de Goya.
Domergue went on to be named a Knight of the Legion of Honor and Fellow of the Academy of Fine Arts.
He died in Paris in 1962. Today, his works can be found in prestigious collections around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Collection in London.