Understanding Art Gallery Style Framing vs. Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Examples of gallery style framing of Todd White's paintings at Marcus Ashley gallery in S. Lake Tahoe

You have several options for how to display fine art in your home, but by far the two most common ways are gallery style framing and wrapped canvas. If you’re new to fine art and want to learn how to make your collection look appealing no matter which style of frame you choose, then we can help. 

The team at Marcus Ashley Gallery is happy to define gallery wrap vs. framing to help you decide the optimal method to display your artwork.

What is Wrapped Canvas?

Canvas is a specific type of fabric material designed to be durable but stretchable. An artist or a manufacturer stretches the canvas taut over a wooden frame and treats it with specific mediums so that it can hold and preserve paint. 

There are two kinds of wrapped canvas that work for either original canvas artworks or art prints on canvas: gallery wrapped vs. non-gallery wrapped. Non-gallery wrapped canvases are typically what you might find in an art supply store or in plein-air paintings that need to be more light-weight for portability, where you will find thinner stretcher bars and where the canvas staples are clearly in view. Artists and clients both usually desire art on non-gallery canvas to be framed.

Gallery wrapped canvas is a method of displaying paintings wherein the edge of the canvas is stretched over the frame and completely covers the stretcher bars beneath: you will not see the staples, the stretcher bars are usually thicker, and the overall presentation is sleek. The painting continues around the entire edge, adding dimension to the piece and creating a “pop-out” effect on your wall. 

Some frames beneath canvases are thick, so they can be challenging to frame yourself without a professional service — in this case, choosing a gallery-wrapped style is both an easier and often a more affordable option. At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we offer gallery-wrapped canvas options for many of our limited edition giclee and artists’ limited edition prints.

Many people love the effect of this framing style, feeling that it lends a contemporary and artistic appeal to the room. It all depends on your style preferences and the genre of painting, as well.

Examples of gallery-wrapped canvas on display at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Artist - Mario Jung

What is Gallery Style Framing?

Close up of a custom art frame with a blue patina finish over gold

Gallery framing is simply when a professional encloses artwork in a custom frame. A frame can also come with glass or plexiglass, which then protects delicate artwork and encourages its longevity.

Choosing a gallery frame for art both elevates and enhances art, making it look more complete and professional. Additionally, when you choose a custom frame, you can complement the art by choosing special finishes and patinas to make the art truly stand out. The expense is well worth it for most collectors concerned about the long-term value of their collection. Additionally, having features like UV protection and protection from dust and the elements helps keep your artwork vibrant.

While custom framing definitely makes art work look and feel more elegant, gallery wrapped canvas does offer similar benefits visually. Some types of art, such as artists’ prints on paper, watercolors, and lithography, benefit more from a frame.

If you desire gallery style framing for your deep canvas, a floater frame is an excellent option. Note that if you choose this option, you might be covering a small amount of the edge of the canvas. A professional gallery framer will be able to advise you on the best options for your specific artwork.

Choosing Gallery Wrap vs. Framing

There is one important thing to note: like your personal art preference, there is no “best” way to display a painting. Both gallery style framing and gallery wrapped canvas can look attractive and professional. It comes down to personal preference and your interior style.

Another important question you can consider when making your choice between gallery wrap vs. framing is: How did the artist intend for their art to be displayed? More often than not, an artist has this in mind before they even begin the piece — especially if they intentionally paint the edges of the canvas sides.

Choose Marcus Ashley Gallery for Your Custom Framing Needs

Marcus Ashley Gallery creates museum-quality framing for our customers right here from our own frame shop. While you’re here, browse our online gallery to find inspirational artwork from some of the world’s finest artists. If you have any questions about gallery wrap vs. framing, contact the experienced professionals at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Our passionate art curators and consultants have the skill to advise you on the best choices for your space, and they’re more than happy to help find the perfect piece for you!