Tradition and experience are the terms that define DOMPAL. For almost 60 years, the company has been working for excellence in Jabugo (Huelva) and Guijuelo (Salamanca). From the beginning in 1962, the architect of the company, Francisco Martín Moreno, had a very clear objective: to obtain the recognition of its clients as the best supplier of each of its products.

It is in Jabugo and Guijuelo where the holm and cork oaks become the ideal habitat for the Iberian pig, and it is in these areas that DOMPAL establishes its base of operations. DOMPAL's master ham makers are true artists, and in the manner of a goldsmith, they are capable of carving the Jewel of Bellota into exclusive pieces with unique flavours, using top quality raw materials.

Currently, the company, under the General Management of Juan Carlos Tejero, has consolidated itself as a leader in the sector, projecting itself into the future with a new Production Centre in Jabugo equipped with IFS and BRC certification, which will allow it to satisfy the most demanding demands, setting itself the challenge for the near future of international trading of its excellent product.

DOMPAL has a large warehouse in Alcobendas (Madrid), where it stores more than 50,000 hams from all the protected designations of origin, as well as a variety of gourmet products to accompany the ham. DOMPAL's headquarters smells of "well-made, healthy, and wholesome product".

In 2017, in order to be able to cover the growing offer and expand the company nationally and internationally, DOMPAL built up a new dryer of about 5,000 square meters with facilities adapted to the latest technological advances, but honestly preserving the tradition of Jabugo’s hams. In the traditional way, the surface is distributed in three floors; with natural dryers in the upper part, elaboration in the ground floor and a lower part devoted to the wine cellar.

DOMPAL distributes its products in more than 2,000 establishments (restaurants, specialised and gourmet shops) in Spain and Europe, and has received numerous quality awards and national and international recognition. Although, as its team points out: "our best award is to have such emblematic clients as El Corte Inglés or Paradores Nacionales of Spain, who place their trust in us and our products to offer the highest quality to their customers".

Some of the most outstanding awards that DOMPAL has received are: “Medalla de oro al Mejor Jamón de Bellota Calidad 5 Dompales” of the German Butchers Association (Stuttgart, 2006), “Trofeo al mejor jamón ibérico de bellota de Castilla y León 2015”, granted by the hoteliers' association of Castilla León, “Premio FES mejor empresario en el exterior, Francisco Martín Moreno, presidente de Domingo del Palacio S.A”, “Ganador al mejor jamón ibérico de Cebo de Castilla y León 2016”, granted by the hoteliers’ association of Castilla León and “Triple Medalla de Oro en la feria cárnica IFFA 2019 de Alemania”, among others.

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.