What is a ‘Good’ Copy of Edvard Munch’s Painting? Painting Reproductions on Display


  • Joanna Iranowska University of Oslo




Reproduction, Artwork, Edvard Munch, Museum, UV-print, Valuing


Paintings in museums might occasionally be replaced by a photoprint mimicking the original. This article is an investigation of what constitutes a good reproduction of an artwork (oil painting) that is meant to be displayed. The article discusses what the usefulness of reproductions depends on, applying the Valuation Studies approach, which means the primary concern is with the practice of valuing itself. In other words, the study focuses on how museum experts evaluate reproduc-tions of oil paintings. The article analyses three cases of displaying digitally prin-ted copies of Edvard Munch’s oil paintings between 2013 and 2015 in the Munch Museum and in the National Gallery in Oslo. The study is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with the experts, working at and for the museums, that were involved in producing and exhibiting of the photoprints: curators, con-servators, museum educators, and external manufacturers. The interviews were grouped into five clusters, which I have chosen to call registers of valuing following Frank Heuts and Annemarie Mol (2013). The described valuation practices have to do with delivering experiences to the public, obtaining mimetic resemblance, solving ethical aspects, exhibitions’ budget, and last but not least, with the time perspective.


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How to Cite

Iranowska, J. (2017) “What is a ‘Good’ Copy of Edvard Munch’s Painting? Painting Reproductions on Display”, Culture Unbound, 9(1), pp. 38–61. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.179138.



Theorizing Copies