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    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2010 edited
    Specifically, sewing up rips in canvas to a smooth finish that can be restretched and painted over.

    The international moving company delivered my art this week, and they've damaged a half-completed painting on canvas measuring 6'x4'. The stretcher frame is smashed in a couple of places, which wouldn't be so bad on its own because I can have the canvas restretched for about $75, and there are three or four splits down the grain of the canvas about 1" in length, down the left hand side and on the bottom.

    I called a couple of art supply places, but they've only offered to replace the wooden stretcher. I'm considering biting the bullet and trimming 2" off the side where the rips are located, but it's going to throw the painting off balance if I do.

    I don't want to scrap the painting and try to claim compensation. It represents about three hundred hours of work, and it tends to be tough going trying to negotiate the value of artwork with insurance companies.

    Can anyone offer advice about getting this thing repaired?

    Here are some of the pictures I took to send to the insurance people -

  1.  (9284.2)
    Pull it off the stretcher, clean the back, and glue it to a new piece of the same kind of media (not all canvas is the same, but they need to be the same to stretch evenly). I’m not sure what the best glue would be; PVA glue or high-end craft glue like SOBO seem like good choices. Dry it flat under even pressure by placing a sheet of stiff wood on top and weighing it down with heavy books, let it dry, and then repaint the damaged area. FYI, That canvas looks like it was either machine-stretched or trimmed after stretching, so I’m not sure that you’ll be able to stretch it without doing a big trim anyway.

    That said, it’s nasty damage and being so close to the edge means it will be under a lot of stress from a single direction. It might be better to recreate the finished area on a new canvas using a projector.
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2010
    Back when I used to work for a gallery that did framing on the side, the shop would offer a service whereby they would sew in a cloth extension on the edge of the canvas so that it could be put on stretcher bars that would fit the composition. I haven't had the need to do so in Toronto, but it may be worth inquiring about. I don't know how much stress a sewn on extension could take though.
  2.  (9284.4)
    Hey Greasemonkey, I use to sell canvas' on the street and have faced damage that would embarrass even the worst movers from hell. Fortunetely canvas sews together quite easily, I always took it off the stretcher and paid a pro( at the drycleaners) to sew a new piece of canvas on. You are lucky that it is an unpainted portion, many times I'd actually have to cut a painting in two and repaint the damaged portion. With a few days of very patient priming ( I mean really thin coats of gesso and waiting until they are completely dry before applying more) you can almost eliminate any trace of the repair.

    From the looks of it you have the option of cutting off the 2 feet damaged and re-attaching a new piece or possibly doing a square section in the corner. If you take a good photo of the pencil work you can always project and trace or do a graphite transfer to save the under drawing.Again you are really lucky the painted portion is in tact.

    I actually leanrned about this from a mentor way before I ever expeienced the problem first hand. In fact many famous paintings (I can't remember which though it's been almost ten years since I studied) are actually on sewn canvas' and it is standard practice to add more if the artist runs out of space. My teacher showed us how to do this and a whole bunch of well known examples.

    Good luck and sorry to hear about the misfortune the painting looks wild.
  3.  (9284.5)
    I don't know if he'd say the same thing, but a buddy of mine runs an art supply store, and he knows every DIY trick in the book, plus I know he works with a canvas guy regularly.

    He'll at the very least give free advice...
  4.  (9284.6)
    Thank you, everyone. Much appreciated. I'm going to call G Spy's friend, and I'll shop around Toronto to see if anyone does this sort of repair.

    I should be able to charge it all to the insurance people.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2010
    Splint it.
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2010
    If you have trouble locating a restorer, check with a museum. Large ones always have someone on staff who does that and should be able to help you.
    If you find any good info on restoration, please share! I've always been interested in learning more (contemplated it as a career for a hot second), plus it's just good to know.
  5.  (9284.9)
    @Oddcult - I thought of spinting, but I prefer restretching on an undamaged frame, and the insurance company will be footing the bill.

    @Glukkake - thanks, that's a good idea. The Art Gallery of Ontario is only a short walk from here; I'll go down and see if I can talk to their restorer.