Compared to the price of the original, 25.000 euros is nothing. But for a reproduction? Maybe less idiotic than you would think, as it is the asking price of the Van Gogh Museum. The first adventurer wishing to put down the money is yet to appear, but it seems only a question of time. The copy is so good that it cannot be distinguished from the original. Not barely distinguishable, not just slightly distinguishable. Just undistinguishable. Moreover, the reproduction is numbered and certified. In a limited edition of 260 produced by the institute which, when it comes to Van Gogh, is the highest authority worldwide.
Yesterday I stood in front of the Museum Edition: a simply amazing experience. You gaze at a real Van Gogh, in this case The Harvest from 1888, one of the most famous works of the artist. With the exact colour, shine, relief, everything. The only thing that is missing is the idea.
Oppressive or liberating? The future will tell. The consequences are hard to estimate, but they will be big either way.
Of course loss of authenticity is one of the big themes of the modern world since her genesis. But as long as the differences between the original and the copy were clear, the order essentially remained intact. Indeed: the reproduction may have challenged the unicity of the original, but in the end the authenticity and realness of the latter were strengthened.
The Relievos which the Van Gogh developed together with Fuji place all of this in a different light. With the annihilation of differences it seems the original may also lose its allure. A notion difficult to grasp, yet compelling.
Quickly back to the viewing experience. How important is that idea actually? And turn it around. Who can tell you, from now on, that when standing in front of a Van Gogh in the museum, you are really looking at an original?
But putting all of that aside: the most exciting and promising consequence is that Van Gogh’s oeuvre is from now on preserved for eternity. And not only that: the paintings can now be fully restored to their original state. Almond Blossom which faded over the years can regain its pink hue, the walls of The Bedroom can be restored from blue to the original violet. In other words: time can be turned back, the originals can be put in a locker, and the Van Gogh Museum can open new branches with it’s complete collection of ‘even more real’ Van Goghs.