Max Ernst, ‘Forest and Dove’ 1927
Max Ernst
Forest and Dove 1927
Tate
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019

The technique was invented by surrealist artist Max Ernst. Having prepared a canvas using grattage, Ernst would then work back into the painting, responding to the unexpected marks and shapes created by the texture. In Ernst’s Forest and Dove the trees appear to have been created by scraping over the backbone of a fish.

Grattage, a French word which translates as ‘scraping’, was developed from another similar technique used by Ernst called frottage.