In June 2016, Upper Canada Stretchers were retained by the Smithsonian American Art Museum to provide custom stretcher frames for five very large paintings by Gene Davis. Gene Davis (1920-1985) was an American Color Field painter known especially for his paintings of vertical stripes of color.
Bob Nadon from Upper Canada Stretchers has just returned from Washington, DC, having spent two days at the museum helping the staff of the Lunder Conservation Center assemble the oversized stretcher frames in preparation for the opening of the Gene Davis exhibition at the museum on November 18th, 2016.
Two types of stretcher frames were used for this work. For three paintings under 10 feet in size, Heavy Duty Professional stretcher bars were used with extra heavy duty bracing.
For the two largest paintings, measuring about 10′ x 18′, a special hybrid aluminum-wood stretcher frame was designed to provide the extra support needed. All the stretcher frames can be expanded, using wedge-shaped canvas keys for the all-wood stretchers or threaded turnbuckles and bolts for the wood-aluminum stretcher frames. The ability to “key-out” or expand the frame in very precise small increments after the canvas is stapled makes it possible to achieve a “perfect stretch” where the canvas tension is set just tight enough to pull the painting flat but not so tight as to potentially damage the painted surface.
Upper Canada Stretchers is proud to be part of this exciting exhibition!