Winsen’s Canvases History

Winsen’s Canvases was started by Wim van Winsen around 1986 – the first canvas came to life, a bit by accident, as the result of making door awnings for friends and neighbours. Prompted by artist Roy Keeler to explore manufacturing custom-sized canvases with the same materials, Wim saw an opportunity to provide South African artists with custom-finished canvases, made with materials not readily available in art shops, the business grew from this single interaction to service some of the country’s most prolific and well-known artists.

In 1993, Bert (Wim’s brother) and Irene van Winsen took over the business, and for the next decade Winsen’s Canvases would enhance its processes and practices, attracting new artists and serve an increasingly wide variety of artistic needs.

News article of Wim Van Winsen -founder of winsens canvasesNews article of Wim Van Winsen
Irene Van Winsen and KemistIrene Van Winsen and founder staff Kemisi

Keeping Winsen’s Canvases in the family

The business evolved naturally, adding the re-stretching of original artworks and prints to its skill set, and close relationships between art galleries and Winsen’s Canvases were formed. Providing custom-gilded framing proved to be a rewarding venture, and being part of the process to frame a completed artwork continues to motivate Winsen’s Canvases to refine gilding techniques, keep abreast with current décor trends and create signature mouldings for artists.

Keeping the company in the family, Bert and Irene’s son, Gavin van Winsen, joined in 2006, and strives to maintain the ethos originally valued by the van Winsens – uncompromising on quality, using the best materials available, and valuing the customer relationship above all else.

Gavin Van Winsen at his Midrand officeGavin Van Winsen at his Midrand office
Artist Donna White with Burt Van WinsenArtist Donna White with Bert van Winsen

From close collaboration with the artist, and in response to varied needs, Winsen’s Canvases is now able to manufacture different shaped-canvases, including round canvases of varying diameter and depth. Other recent developments are the design and manufacture of aluminium stretcher frames, which finds unique application as a support structure for all cloth types.

Winsen’s Canvases continues to test canvas types and priming materials, ensuring consistency and quality of the raw materials. Furthermore, with an expanding range of Belgian Linens, Winsen’s aims to provide the correct support for artists to work on.

Winsen’s Canvases strives to understand the needs of the artist and appreciates the importance of a quality product for them to work on. Winsen’s is proud that their product will become the support and a small part of an item of value and beauty.