Damaged art on transit


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Jun 3, 2000
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I have way too much time on my hands this week.
We just completed a five day home show from ****. To top off the disgrace of not selling a thing, on the way out to the art courier's van, one of my 7 ft by 5 ft orignal oils received a 4 inch gash when a load of paintings dislodged the bracer bar and cut through the canvas. It is in a visual spot, so it will be difficult to cover on the front. I may be able to do it but my first question is:
Is there a glue I can use to seam it? and secondly, my art courier has stated that he is not responsible because my husband was helping him. Is he?
This is a $4000 painting and unless I can repair it sufficiently, it will be ruined. Unfortunately, a collector asked for it to be sent out on approval this week so you can see this is a real bummer.
Also, since I painted the painting, I am hesitating contacting my insurance company.
Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
If you are the artist who painted it then why not go back into the painting, you have the right as the artist to change a painting once you have finished it, may not be the best thing to do but, artists have accidents all the time and most often they happen before anyone knows about it, just unlucky that it was done after everyone has seen it. Your other choice would be to have a art restorer repair the damage, they are able to patch paintings on canvas.
I've seen my partner restore a "gashed" painting (actually it appeared to be a traecheotomy from a gun bullet...don't ask). Anyway, it was an oil on canvas portrait. Behind the canvas, she glued another piece of canvas to pull the original canvas together. Then from the front side, she used some kinda wax to build up the indentation from the hole and continually (slowly over several days), painted the hole and it looked wonderful when completed. The customer was thrilled to once again be able to hang the portrait and I truly don't think anyone would have ever noticed the "repair" unless they knew where the original bullet hole was (right through the neck).
Lisa, As a NOT so nubie to the Grumble........
As one who has HEARD it all before....
and As one who has READ it all before....

you know what's coming

as a framer to an artist
I'm gonna love this

<font size=4>Get thyself to a conservator.</font>


Ok, and now the flippent side: What were you thinking when you let your husband help?

Sorry. I've just been waiting, oh, about 31 years to say those things . . . to someone other than myself....MMMmmm. Don't ask.

Now for the not so evil me.... you ain't gonna like it: 1) Your husband was "helping" so the courier's insurance is off the hook.
2) You're the artist so you would only be re-embursed for your materials. (I kid you not) "Because you can reproduce the art for the cost of the materials". Time, sweat, tears, heartache, and blood loss are not accountable.

If it's near the edge: reduce the size of the canvas. If it's in the middle: with those kinds of prices: take it to a conservator. Don't ask how much. And when he presents you with the bill: Pay it and add a 10% tip. That is the cost of humility and an education on why you hired an art courier to begin with. Sorry, I truly know what pain and anger you are feeling at this time. It will pass. :(
Baer is exactly right regarding the amount you can be reimbursed for the artwork...only the price of the paints and canvas. Didn't wanna bring that up in my earlier post as I knew it would be a real "downer", but it is the truth.
Reinforcement linings were typically attached to the back of tears in canvas with beeswax. A layer is applied to the back and the liner is attached by reheating the wax with an iron. The tear is filled and varnished and the inpainting does the visual repair. Patching locally can have adverse Long term results as the repaired area will have a different reaction to changes in temperature and humidity as the rest of the canvas causing puckering.
I had a large canvas repaired by a conservator in Santa Fe that did a relatively new repair technique where he "welded" the fibers of the canvas back together. I wasn't overjoyed with the result, but it did save the canvas from having to be relined.
Another modern adhesive that has been successful in attaching linings is Lascaux 360 (also from Talas). They have a bunch of technical information about the product on their website (www.talasonline.com) and our resident conservator, Rebecca, has some experience with it in that regard (I think). She would know best about the relative success of being able to "try this at home".
It all depends, doesn't it? ;)

I don't think there are any paintings conservators right in Calgary, but a call to the Glenbow Museum should help Lise locate one.

If it is a straight tear, it can be locally mended on the reverse with Japanese paper and Lascaux HV 360 or Beva and a thin patching fabric, but that doesn't solve the inpainting problem. Depending on how busy or monochromatic the the painting in the area of damage is, this can be a straightforward or hair tearing exercise.

Also, if the canvas has been deformed by the tear - stretched and doesn't lie flat anymore - it will take more than a straight mend to get everything back in plane.

If Lise is the artist and owner she can, of course, do her own experimenting. I've just found that generally it's more cost effective to have specialized things done by specialists. By the time one buys the materials and figures out how to use them it's often simpler just to have someone else do it.