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Inactive Account
Sep 5, 1998
New Cumberland, PA
That line from Monty Python came to mind when this customer brought in a 75-year-old, somewhat dilapidated canvas measuring 64 x 80 that had never been stretched (it had been thumb-tacked to a church wall for 50 - 60 years), and her intention was to have it stretched and framed.

She had been to a couple of other shops, and they quoted prices to stretch and frame this thing .... I had reservations about doing anything other than an archival mount on an acid free board ... assuming one could find one that big (the thinking being that [a] you couldn't get it to stretch tight enough without tearing it, and something that big would just have to be restretched down the road, anyway) .

What would you have done?
Would really need to have more information. Has it been rolled all this time, are the pigments in good condition, what state of dilapidation (is the canvas fragile or just dirty), why hasn't the customer had one of the other shops do the work (too much money....run away, run away....).

The first thing to determine is whether or not the piece needs the care of a conservator, and proceed from there. If I think that a piece needs conservation to be sucessfully framed, I won't do the work otherwise.
This piece has been hanging, thumb-tacked, to a church wall for 50 years. The customer was charged with getting estimates for stretching and framing. The paint seems to be stable on the canvas (cotton, it appears), but the years have taken their toll in that the fabric is getting a little ratty. My feeling was that stretching would be it's death-knell. Apparently, price is an issue to her, and a full-tilt conservation undertaking would bust her budget. That's why my suggestion was an archival mount (this thing doesn't have any financial value ... just intrinsic).

Any feedback?
If it is in as fragile a condition as you say then contact a conservator and have it relined(mounted to canvas or linen). Otherwise you will be opening Pandora's Box.
This canvas needs to be mounted by a conservator
we had a canvas that was 50 to 60 years old that was glued to a plaster wall . The conservator got it off the wall, cleaned it and then adheared it to a Honeycomed panel manufactured for conservators .After completion itlooked like it was painted last week . This painting was 12 feet tall and 27 feet long . the panels were apx 4x12 and interlock to form a solid support. The adhesive was heat activated . The amazing thing about the panels was that they weighed only about 20 lbs each. the canvas and the adhesive weighed more.
Cassetta, do you remember what that mounting job cost? Your solution is, indeed, the logical one ... but I need to give her some idea of the cost (I can extrapolate it down from the size of yours to hers ... and give her a ballpark idea of what to expect.).

Thanks for the productive info.
Don't run, don't hide.

Do work out the price to do it right, do quote it, do not bend.