Oil on Canvas or on Paper? Does it Matter?


Should it matter? Why is it so important?

Thus the oil painting is not painted on canvas but on paper. Therefore there is a difference, a minute difference/detail, which in the art world makes a big difference in value. Really?

No, the oil painting was not painted on panel/wood as described but on canvas and then laid down on panel. Does it matter at all? Surely, it is the same painting, the same artist and consequently is of the same value. Well, ideally it should not make much difference but it does and in many cases a very big difference!

Why does it matter as my story will say? Who says it matters so much? How come it does?

It is a well accepted fact that fine oil paintings are generally more expensive that watercolours or acrylics but that is not a rule. Many artists are recocnised mainly as watercolourists and so their prices are higher for works in that medium. That is also the case for other media of execution for certain artists, who made their name by specialising in one type of medium and art.

The above statement makes it easier for the readers to understand why the market, the collectors, the investors are very specific in their investments and demands. Endurance and a better medium is always preferred by artists of importance. Thus Old Master oil paintings of today are better preserved and survived better , if painted on panel/wood. Not only the material is more durable but also much better to paint on and get images sharper, colours sharper and a longer life.

Thus we arrive to the difference of oils on canvas and paper in today’s market. Canvas is a lot more durable than paper and therefore much more preferred. The markets are specific about this matter and that is reflected in the prices achieved by pieces of fine art by the same artist when painting on different media. Preference today is to canvas. Work on paper is unfortunately less popular and therefore less expensive.

Thus the call from Sothebys about the work of a famous contemporary artist I am involved with came as NO surprise. The painting in question is Oil on Paper not Oil on Canvas and that affects the price considerably. In their view the work is about three times less valuable than if it was painted on canvas. What could I do in a situation such as this since I knew that the market is so specific and so demanding. The collectors like canvas not paper and they avoid it!

It is a fact, it is reality that auctioneers accept and carry on with their business. The painting in question looks as good as a painting on canvas but thick paper looking like canvas is different and so we believe a new lower estimate will see the painting selling!

I will come back to this issue in February and after the painting has been offered for sale!!

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