"Through history French painters had traditionally painted on strong and durable fabrics—hemp and linen, and the transition from hemp to linen painting canvases had occurred smoothly; and artists were aware that cotton fabrics were not as well adapted as hemp and linen ones to use as supports for paintings. Cotton is weaker than the two other fibers and much weaker when wet; it will also not resist bacterial growth as well. Only in the late 1800s did painters begin to paint on cotton canvases, because linen fabrics had by then become much more expensive. Even today, artists who are concerned with the durability of their works still favor linen over cotton when it is available and affordable." - A Study of French Painting Canvases by K. V. Carbonnel.
Beware of big, heavy linen fabrics that look impressive and feel substantial. Just like the finest bedsheets, you want more threads per inch, so you need linen made from threads that are consistently thin. Some manufacturers sell oil primed linen where the gauge of the thread is thinner in one direction than the other - that means that the only way you can prevent ripple in the fabric is to stretch tighter in one direction than the other - and that's very difficult to do! That's why we avoid offering such products.
Here at John Annesley Company we carry a wide range of linens. From unprimed linens, or our L60 linen that has only a rabbit skin glue coating, to the L64C linen with four coats of oil ground on a very delicate but durable linen. It has the luscious feel of calf-skin glove leather and is made by Artfix.
For nearly 50 years the Narozni family has been hand crafting premium artists’ canvases. Artfix canvas and polyester art fabrics, made for serious painters who insist on archival quality, is hand-primed according to time-honored methods. The canvases are manufactured in a small village in Provence, a mecca for artists where the warm, dry climate is ideal for slow, even drying of primed surfaces. The secret to Artfix’s exceptional quality, smooth surface and luminous undertones lies in their unique protective formula that isolates each individual fiber. This sealant prevents the acid in oil based primers from penetrating and destroying the canvas over time. After the sealant is applied, as many as four layers of oil-based or universal (acrylic) primer is applied, ensuring that paint will permanently adhere to the canvas without cracking, peeling or flaking when utilizing professionally accepted standards. Truly a conservator-grade painting surface that, when treated properly, preserves finished art century after century. It is this close attention to detail that makes Artfix a premium product for the fine artist.
We will stretch any of these fabrics over any of our stretcher bars, cradled panels, or strainers.
Or you can purchase whatever fabric you need - by the piece, by the yard or by the roll. Then you can use our canvas pliers and stretch it yourself
L42C Artfix French linen fabric. A heavy thread with good tooth and tight weave. Very strong and durable, excellent for murals and large scale artworks.