Gold Rehaussé – Gilded highlights in trompe l’oeil and ornamentation

pierre finkelstein gilding highlight rehausse2Gold Rehaussé is a classic French term refers to method in which the highlight is executed in gold leaf.
In decorative painting, this technique was used a lot in the late 18th and early 19th century over polychrome or grisaille ornamentation to replace the “white highlight” in order to give more distinction to the trompe l’oeil. The gold is best used as a highlight when the base is a mustardy ochre and the shadow is a burnt umber. Usually, 22K gold is used in this technique.

This type of gilding is generally done with oil size applied with a fine sable brush.
When a “pop” of highlight or sparkle is desired, this technique is very effective.

These next 4 images are from the Louvre Museum in Paris



Gold Rehaussé


When gold leaf is placed on a molding profile to accentuate it, it’s called gold repiqué –done by PF
more examples
These are doors I completed in my studio
Close up
final image
The accents on this duck were done in paint (on a job with André Martinez)



  1. steve Shriver says

    Excellent article and excellent work, as always. I’ve seen this many times, but did not know what it was called. Those crab doors are really wonderful!

  2. there are 2 schools of thoughts on that. I will post up an other technique where all is gilded and the gold is left off in places to show highlights. it is a tone on tone technique.

  3. I always thought the gold was under the entire shape of the ornament and then painted over, makes more sense when using the real stuff to just gild the highlighted areas….I love the crab doors!!

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