Reproductions and Originals

Reproductions have facilitated the study and experience of art in cultures around the world, and their dissemination has been key to the formation of artistic canons. Painted copies, prints, drawings, casts, and other close imitations have long been used to replicate artifacts of aesthetic and historical significance and have themselves been subject to replication and translation. The advent of photography revolutionized the way art is studied and experienced, especially in the West. Now digitization promises changes at least as great. How will electronic dissemination affect the arts and the disciplines that study them? Already the use of reproductive technologies is so widespread that our experience of so-called "originals" is often mediated by prior experience of them in reproduced forms. It is the condition of art historical practice that much of the analysis and interpretation takes place away from the object. This scholar year at the Research Institute begins from the premise that the use of reproductions by art historians—past and present—is worth looking at more closely.

The ideas "original objects" and "reproductions" are problematic ones—as if an artwork could ever be entirely without precedent or understood apart from the historical conditions of its (re)production and reception. Terms like "original" and "copy" are implicated in one another and in intermediate terms like "imitation," "replication," "homage," or "appropriation." These terms have been employed in investigating a wide range of questions in the history of art and culture. Greek sculptors, whose products came to define a Western figural canon, worked largely in a serial, reproductive mode of bronze casting. Printmakers in early modern Europe conceived of reproductive engraving as possessing an aesthetic and cognitive value independent of the paintings that served as their models. In various studio systems, the actual hand of the master is not deemed as essential. What then is the status of replicas and how can this be distinguished from contemporary market-driven notions of originality? With the modern era came reproduction by mechanical means, which altered the artwork's value, or so it has been claimed. Nineteenth-century debates about the relation of photograph to original, viewers to viewing, and copyright resemble in some ways current debates about digitization, suggesting that innovations in reproductive technologies might profitably be compared.

Of interest during this scholar year will be such issues as the often fugitive nature of reproductive media; the ambiguous status of reproductions as "realistic" representations or decontextualized fragments; the use of reproductions in defining intellectual categories and developing object taxonomies; the pedagogical applications of visual archives; asymmetries between direct observation, textual description, and illustration; and the roles of reproductive images in establishing, sustaining, recovering, and replacing cultural memory. Of interest also could be questions stemming from any number of relevant subjects—from ekphrasis to conceptual art, from Cassiano Dal Pozzo's Paper Museum to quotation practices by postmodern artists, from tapestry production in the Old Regime to Chinese literati painting and calligraphy in the manner of revered masters. The words used to address subjects such as these lead to controversial questions about authenticity and creativity of import to scholars from across the humanities. The Research Institute is open to pursuing this theme from a variety of perspectives in relation to cultures from around the world.

Twenty-eight scholars and artists have been selected to participate in the Getty Research Institute's 2000-2001 scholar year devoted to the theme Reproductions and Originals.

Getty Scholars

Malcolm Baker - Deputy Head of Research, Victoria and Albert Museum
Sculptural Reproductions and Reproductions of Sculpture: The Bust and the Print

Mario Carpo - Associate Professor, École d'Architecture de Saint-Étienne
Architecture, Archetypes, Reproductions, and Reproductive Technologies

Whitney Davis - John Evans Professor of Art History, Northwestern University
The Transcendence of Imitation: Male Homoeroticism and the Visual Arts, 1750-1920

Péter Forgács - History Filmmaker and Media Artist, Budapest
Rereading Home Movies: Cinematography and Private History

Dorinne K. Kondo - Professor of Anthropology and American Studies and Ethnicity and Director of Asian American Studies, University of Southern California
(Re)Visions of Race: Mimesis, Identity, and Difference in Contemporary Performance

Lothar Ledderose - Professor of East Asian Art History, Universität Heidelberg
Reproductions for the Next World Age. The Stone Library of Buddhist Sutras at the Yunjusi, China.

Sherrie Levine - Artist, New York and New Mexico
Collaborative Sculpture Project with Artist Joost van Oss

Partha Mitter - Professor of Art History, University of Sussex
The Role of Reproductions in the Work of Colonial Artists in India, 1850-1947

Joost van Oss - Artist, The Netherlands and New Mexico
Collaborative Sculpture Project with Artist Sherrie Levine

Ingrid D. Rowland - Associate Professor, University of Chicago
The Scarith of Scornello: An Etruscan Fraud in the Age of Galileo

Pamela H. Smith - Associate Professor, Pomona College and Director of European Studies, Claremont Graduate University
The Body of the Artisan: Nature, Art, and Science in Early Modern Europe

Anne M. Wagner - Professor of Modern Art, University of California, Berkeley
"Mother Stones": The Sculptural Imaginary in Britain, ca. 1930

Herta F. Wolf - Professor of History and Theory of Photography, Universität Essen
Poor Copy and Model Image: The Organization of Knowledge in the Photographic Age

Visiting Scholars

Tim Clark - George C. and Helen N. Pardee Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Poussin's Paintings for Jean Pointel

Alexei Lidov - Research Center for Eastern Christian Culture, Moscow
Miraculous Images and their Reproductions in Byzantium

Miranda Marvin - Professor of Art and Greek, Wellesley College
The Language of Muses: Roman Copies of Greek Sculpture

Hank Millon - Dean Emeritus, Center for Advanced Study, National Gallery of Art
Michelangelo and his Successors at St. Peter's / The Architectural Drawings of Filippo Juvarra in Rome, 1704-1714

Susanne Rüsseler - Professor, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands

Sarah Morris - Professor, Department of Classics, University of California, Los Angeles
Oriental Originals, Greek Reproductions: A Study of Greek Cult Images

Glen Seator - Artist, New York
American Sections

Rani Singh - Executive Director, The Harry Smith Archives, New York
Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular

Sally Stein - Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine
Precarious Balance: Reconsidering the Work and Life of Dorothea Lange

Pre-Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Fellows

S. M. Can Bilsel - Ph.D. candidate, School of Architecture, Princeton University
Archaeological Reconstruction: The Original and Its Doubles (Pergamon Museum, 1905-1930)

Kajri Jain - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University, Sydney
Gods in the Bazaar: The Economies of Indian Calendar Art

Michael Lobel - Department of History of Art, Yale University
Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art

Maria Hsiuya Loh - Ph.D. candidate, Department of History of Art, University of Toronto
The Negotiation of Venetian Old Master Style & the Economy of Wit in Seventeenth-Century Europe

Lisa Pon - Department of History of Art, Harvard University
Printing Pictures/Photographing Prints: Art and Reproduction in Sixteenth-Century Italy and Nineteenth-Century France

Alastair Wright - Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, Richmond University, London
Identity Trouble: Matisse and the Subject of Art History

Museum Guest Scholars

Stuart Alexander is an independent curator and scholar based in New York City. While in residence he researched and examined the interaction between the two capitals of photographic activity, Paris and New York, from 1945 to 1960, evaluating the influence they had on one another through this crucial, and still little understood, period in the history of the medium.

Françoise Cachin is Director, Direction des musées de France, Paris, France. At the Getty she researched the Signac-Matisse letters in connection with a catalogue raisonné on Paul Signac. 

Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue is Surveyor Emeritus of the Queen's Works of Art, Store Tower, Windsor Castle, Windsor, England. While at the Getty he worked on a catalogue of the French porcelain in the British Royal Collection housed in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Jill Dunkerton is Restorer in the Conservation Department of the National Gallery in London. While in residence she researched the history of painting techniques from 1260 to 1600.

Jennifer Fletcher is Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Head of Renaissance Section, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England. During her stay she worked on the definitive edition of Marcantonio Michiel's Notizia d'opera di disegno, perhaps the most the important original source for Venetian art of the High Renaissance. Michiel, a patrician connoisseur and collector, compiled this series of notebooks in the 1520s and 1530s, recording works of art in private collections in Venice and the cities of the Venetian mainland. 

Bertrand Lavédrine is Director, Center for Research and Conservation of Graphic Documents (CRCDG), Paris, France. At the Getty he continued research for and writing of the article "Conservation of Photographs: Past, Present, and Future," which illustrates the technical changes in conservation approaches in the last twenty years. 

Debra Pincus is Editor of the College Art Association Monograph Series and Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia; Research Associate, The National Gallery of Art; Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, Washington, D.C. While in residence she worked to compile, edit, and provide an introduction to Wendy Stedman Sheard's seminal articles—heretofore widely scattered and published in obscure journals—in order to make this rich treasure trove of Venetian research accessible to a wider audience and to place Sheard's contribution within the larger context of recent Venetian studies.

Marla Shoemaker is Curator of Education for Youth and Family Programs, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her project was to prepare a publication for museum professionals on the theory and practical application of interactive teaching methods in the art museum setting.

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill is Professor of Classics, University of Reading, Reading, England and Director, The British School at Rome, Rome, Italy. He worked on The Cultural Transformation of Rome (200 B.C. – A.D. 100), which studies cultural transformation in its broadest sense in late Republican and early Imperial Rome, particularly the process of the Hellenization of Roman Italy.

Aidan Weston-Lewis is Assistant Keeper and Curator of Italian and Spanish Art, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. He worked on a revised and updated edition of the catalogue of the permanent collection of Italian drawings at the National Gallery of Scotland.