Grattage . Term that means “Scraped” in French . It is a surrealist painting technique in which the painting is detached from the canvas through tears (usually once dry), creating a special texture with a relief or third-dimensional effect. It was used by Max Ernst and Joan Miró , and later by informalism , especially by Antoni Tàpies .


In the history of art , the ” frottage ” was much investigated by the artists of the surrealist movement, especially by Max Ernst ( 1891 – 1976 ) its creator, who exhaustively tested with various artistic methods.

By the early 1920s , inspired by the veining of a floor of wood accented by over the years, he developed a series of drawings to place the sheets of paper on the floor and rub with a pencil soft. The images created resembled organic forms and Ernst published some of these drawings in 1926 under the title “Histoire Naturelle” (“Natural History”).

Continuous experimentation led the artist to develop a new technique called “grattage”, in which a canvas prepared with one or more layers of paint was placed on a surface with relief and then scraped, peeling off the paint to obtain a relief of the object .

For Ernst, the “frottage” and the “grattage” offered interesting results closely linked to the psychic automatism of Freudian psychoanalysis , managing to penetrate the subconscious and make it emerge.


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