Conservators prepare a mist lining at SRAL
Conserving Canvas is an international grant initiative focused on the conservation of paintings on canvas. Artists began to use canvas supports during the 15th century in Europe, and the material quickly grew in popularity. Today, the adoption of canvas is ubiquitous, with museums in virtually all parts of the world holding works on canvas, whether they be old master paintings or modern or contemporary artworks. For centuries, it was common practice to protect canvas paintings by backing or lining them with another canvas to create a moisture barrier and provide greater structural integrity. However, in the 1980s, museum conservators adopted less invasive techniques. While this shift towards minimal intervention is positive overall for the field, it has also produced a knowledge gap among today's museum conservators and curators in how to treat lined paintings.

a female conservator working to conserve a canvas painting
 
Conserving Canvas aims to ensure that conservators remain fully prepared to care for these important works of art through a combination of training activities, information dissemination, and scientific research. Grants are available for museum projects—including conservation treatment residencies that focus on knowledge and skill development—and targeted professional development opportunities such as training workshops and seminars for curators and conservators.

In 2019, the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University organized and hosted the grant-funded Conserving Canvas Symposium, an international convening on the conservation of canvas paintings. This was the first major international gathering on the subject since 1974, allowing specialists to look back at over 45 years of practice and take stock of the current state of the field.

For more information or to submit inquiries for consideration, organizations may contact conservingcanvas@getty.edu. Please note that support is not available for individuals.


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Images: (Top) Conservators at the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL) prepare the back of a canvas for mist lining. Image courtesy SRAL; (Right) Paintings conservator Laura Hartman examines María Luisa Pacheco's Stoic Figure at the Dallas Museum of Art.