While French surrealist Yves Tanguy used the decalcomania technique in his 1936 works Paysage I and Paysage II, the production of decalcomanias has not been confined to art.

Oil on photo album paper, 2023, 32x26cm

At Yale University, fingerpaint decalcomanias have been analyzed for their tendency to generate fractals when the process is repeated several times on the same paper.

Oil on photo album paper, 2023, 32x26cm

From landscape motifs to stoic pictorial symbols and abstract paintings, the technique here is combined with the scrape of the spatula in a precise manner, contrary to the work of surrealist Óscar Domínguez, who referred to his practice as decalcomanias “with no preconceived object.”

Oil on photo album paper, 2023. 32x26cm

By around 1875, decalcomania designs printed in colored glazes were being applied to porcelain, an extension of transfer printing that had been developed in England since the late 18th century.

Yves Tanguy, Untitled 1936. MoMA.
Oil on photo album paper, 2023, 32x26cm
Advertisement for the decalcomania process in the 1870 New York City directory. Image: By H. Wilson-Trow’s New York City Directory, Public Domain