Frottage in Art

what is frottage?

Max Ernst pioneered the method in sketches beginning in 1925. The French word for rubbing is frottage.

grattage vs frottage

He went on to employ a variety of textured materials and soon transferred the method to oil painting, coining the term grattage. In grattage, the canvas is primed with a layer or layers of paint before being put over the coarse item and scraped over.

Frottage technique

The frottage technique for frottage printing produces an unstructured design that mirrors the uneven surface on which the rubbing was performed.

examples of frottage in art

Frottage (1960)  Julius Schramm

Frottage (1980)  Julius Schramm

frequently asked questions

what is frottage in art?

Chances are that you have probably created a frottage artwork before without even realizing it! If you have ever rubbed a pencil over a piece of paper while there was a coin underneath it, thereby revealing the image on the coin – then you have produced frottage art! Artists have simply taken it a step further and applied the image to a pattern, repeating it to create the details of an artwork.

which artist created frottage?

The first artist to officially use the technique was Max Ernst. However, it’s pretty certain that he was not the first to have tried it, he certainly was the most famous. Many other artists experimented with the technique after he popularized it.