I found three canvases in the dumpster. They are two-color silkscreen prints on canvas ~ 24" x 30". From the looks of the art, the style, I am guessing they are from late 1960s to mid 1970s.
The art on them now is mediocre at best and I am planning on painting over them. [Don't worry! I can assure you that these paintings in their current state have no monetary or cultural value. Here is a link of one
. See for yourself. They are three in a series, knock-off prints of a Matisse or Modigliani drawing style.]
Anyway, back to the original question: How can I get rid of the smell? The stretchers are well-made and the canvas is in decent condition, but they are awful stinky. Like they were in someone's basement for 20 years. A musty stench emanates from them and it is a very strong and very unpleasant.
I have let them sit in the sun for several days and I sprayed them with a dilute vinegar-water solution. This did not fix the problem.
Please do not suggest Febreeze or any other masking fragrance. I would prefer to leave the canvas on the stretchers, but if this problem cannot be fixed, I will replace the canvas. Thanks!