Jean Domergue studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he was a pupil of an impressive array of prominent teachers of the time, including Jules Lefebvre, Tony Robert-Fleury, Jules Adler, Fernand Humbert and François Flameng.
In 1927 he moved into Villa Fiesole in Cannes, which was said to have been most luxurious, and which he bequeathed to the town. It was also said that he owned good paintings. He was elected a member of the institute and, in 1955, made curator of the Musée Jacquemart-André, property of the institute. Up until 1962 he organised large exhibitions in the museum of works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Baudelaire, Van Gogh, Berthe Morisot and Goya, as if to dispel any misunderstandings over his taste and personal judgements of art.
His early works suggested a career as a landscape painter. However, he soon became a painter of nudes and semi-nudes.
While his work sold well and was popular with the periodicals of the time, especially L'Illustration, since his death art books have hardly mentioned him.
He first exhibited at the age of 17 at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1906. He received an honourable mention in 1908 and a gold medal in 1920, having been designated hors concours. In 2002 the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux held a retrospective of his work, and in 2003 around 30 of his works from the English collection of Janet and Howard Thomas were given to Villa Domergue in Cannes.