Whether you are an artist or art collector, I have no doubt you know how expensive it can be to ship large paintings. When you are shipping very large paintings, you’ll probably even need to send the painting in a crate. I haven’t shipped many larger paintings up to this point, but since I’ve started painting on larger canvases, now I’m starting to think more about shipping options, especially for shipping art internationally, which can be extra costly.
One alternative is painting on unstretched canvas, which is basically just painting on a piece of fabric. There are several ways you can display paintings on unstretched canvas, which is simply canvas that hasn’t been placed on the wooden stretcher bars that you see on the back. I’m am sharing two of my favorite ways you can hang unstretched canvas paintings.
What’s nice about paintings on unstretched canvas is that you can loosely roll the canvas and ship in a tube instead of a big box or a crate. I can see where shipping tubes would not only be less costly, but easier to pack, too.
After purchased by the collector, paintings on unstretched canvas can be taken to a framer, who can then place the painting on stretcher bars, like the one below. However, I’ve also heard that stretching a canvas after painting on it can damage the piece. Displaying artwork on stretcher bars is probably the most traditional and most popular way of displaying a painting on canvas.
There are ways you can hang unstretched canvas, other than just adding stretcher bars and wire. One way is to install grommets, which Barbara Downs has done so beautifully in her collection of paintings here on her website.
Another method is to simply hang the unstretched canvas with push pins, as I believe that is how August Vollbrecht’s paintings are hung in this show at M 2 3 Gallery. I just love how raw and modern these paintings look.
If you are an artist who has experience painting on unstretched canvas, I’d love to hear about your experience. And if you are an art collector, I’d love to know if you would be inclined to purchase a painting on unstretched canvas, or if you are only interested in paintings that are already on stretcher bars.
P.S. My Abstract Painting for the Absolute Beginner book is on schedule to be released on Amazon by March 15th, 2021.