Decal and decalcomania

DEFINITION

Decalcomania is the process of transferring images from specially prepared paper to the surface of a material such as canvas, glass, or metal. "Decal" is short for decalcomania, and is now more popularly used, often for a sticker, many either decorative or advertising. "Decalcomania" came to English from a similar French word meaning "a craze for transferring a tracing," when the process was very popular, first in France, then in England in the mid-19th century.(pr. də-KAL and də-KAL-kə-MAY-nee-ə)Examples:American, Victor Talking Machine Company, Victrola Label, 1927, decal, 3 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches, placed on the inside of a phonograph playing machine. See logo.American, State of Colorado, 1960, decal, 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches, to be displayed as a souvenir on a motor vehicle. See map.Decalcomania was adopted as a surrealist art process in 1936 by Oscar Dominguez (Spanish, born Tenerife, 1906-1957), who described his technique as "decalcomania with no preconceived object." It involved applying gouache to paper or glass, then transferring a reversal of that image onto canvas or some other material. Max Ernst (German, also lived in the USA, 1891-1976) also practiced decalcomania, as did Hans Bellmer (German, 1902-1975) and Remedios Varo (Spanish, also lived in France and Mexico, 1908-1963).Related: Decalcomanias produced with fingerpaint have been studied at Yale University for their tendency to generate fractals when the process is repeated several times on the same paper. See fingerpaint.Also see automatism, fractal, frottage, inkblot, Rorschach test, transfer paper, and visual culture.

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