If Oscar Dominguez premonitory self portrait of his suicide can be rationalized as the result of a long standing death wish, Victor Brauner arresting and prophetic Self Portait with Eye Extract from 1931 is rather harder to explain.
During the early thirties the Surrealist Victor Brauner was obsessed by mutilated eyes. Painting after painting sees plucked eyeballs, detached eyes lost in threatening landscapes, horns growing of eye sockets. When asked why he kept painting eyes he answered that he had no idea why he painted the way he did.
In 1938 at a studio party while trying to separate a brawling Oscar Dominguez and Esteban Francis, Brauner was accidentally struck in the face by a bottle thrown by Dominguez. It cost Brauner his left eye, just as he had foreseen many times in his painting. The Mediterranean Landscape from 1932 is even more chilling in its anticipation of future events, the central figure’s left eye is pierced by an instrument with the letter D, Dominguez’s initial, on the handle.
Brauner wasn’t the only Surrealist obsessed with eyes. As well the infamous eye ball slicing scene at the start of Un Chien Andalou there is Georges Bataille transgressive classic Story of the Eye.