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Fumage, gouache, and color pencil work, by Antonio Muñiz, 22" x 30"

Fumage is a surrealist art technique popularized by Wolfgang Paalen in which impressions are made by the smoke of a candle or kerosene lamp on a piece of paper or canvas.[1][2] Salvador Dalí later utilized the technique in his paintings, calling the technique "sfumato".[3] The technique has been utilized by several artists such as Yves Klein, Burhan Doğançay, Jiri Georg Dokoupil, Otto Piene, Antonio Muñiz, Bimal Banerjee, Hugh Parker Guiler, Steven Spazuk and Adam Blakemore.[4]

In popular media[edit]

Guiler's usage of the fumage technique is depicted briefly in the 1987 film Henry and June and his fumage pictures were often used as the covers for his wife Anaïs Nin's books.[5]


Scholar Mary Flanagan compared the technique to the reading of tea leaves and to the Rorschach test.[6] José Antonio Pérez Esteban's 2013 doctoral thesis analyzes fumage art, especially "soot paintings" by Jiri Georg Dokoupil. (Link Thesis)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ However, Daniel C. Boyer has employed a cigarette lighter in a similar manner.
  2. ^ Barnitz, Jacqueline (2001). Twentieth-Century Art of Latin America. University of Texas Press. p. 116. ISBN 0292708580. 
  3. ^ Aspley, Keith (2010). Historical Dictionary of Surrealism. Scarecrow Press. pp. 209–210. ISBN 0810858479. 
  4. ^ Chaitanya, Krishna (1994). History of Indian Painting: The Modern Period. Abhinav Pubns. p. 240. ISBN 8170173108. 
  5. ^ Herron, Paul (1996). Anaïs Nin: a book of mirrors. Sky Blue Press. p. 49. ISBN 0965236404. 
  6. ^ Flanagan, Mary (2009). Critical Play: Radical Game Design. The MIT Press. p. 158. ISBN 0262062682. 

External links[edit]