- Artwork painted on the exterior of private homes, sgraffiti emerged at the end of the 19th century when city officials encouraged urban beautification by organizing competitions for decorating house fronts. Several techniques developed; the most common one involves applying a light-colored base to the surface after which portions of the base are scratched away while still wet, leaving the support medium to show through in displaying a drawing. Street artwork developed at the height of the art nouveau period in Brussels and representative examples, which resemble fresco painting, are in evidence. Sgraffiti are found at the house of architect Edouard Ra-maekers in Brussels, the house that belonged to architect Paul Hankar in Saint-Gilles, and the house owned by artist Paul Cauchie, a specialist in the technique, in Etterbeek, among other locales. The art of sgraffiti continues today.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.