Report: Escher Museum filled with replicas

Montecelio - a previously unseen drawing by artist M.C. Escher (Picture: The M.C. Escher Company BV, Baarn). (Montecelio - a previously unseen drawing by artist M.C. Escher (Picture: The M.C. Escher Company BV, Baarn))

Many of the works that are on display at the Escher in the Palace in the Hague museum are replicas, according to a report in the Volkskrant published Thursday morning. Mark Veldhuijsen, curator at the MC Escher foundation, told the paper that showing replicas without informing the public makes him feel ill.

Visitors to the museum and even the staff cannot tell which displays are real, and which are not.

The foundation does not run the museum, and has cancelled a showing at the permanent Escher exhibition there. They said they do not want visitors to pay to see reproductions of the work.

Instead, the travelling exhibit, "The Amazing World of MC Escher," could be put on display at a location in Amsterdam.

Benno Tempel, the director of the Escher in the Palace was surprised by the criticism from Veldhuijsen saying that the foundation has approved the license agreements that allow the museum to make use of replicas. Tempel also heads up the city's Gemeente Museum.

"The license for the Escher work states taht Escher in the Palace only display reproductions when the originals are damaged or need to be repaired," Veldhuijsen told the paper. "Not that they can fill a whole museum [with reproductions]." He added that it is not allowed to rent out the originals to other museums and display replicas in their place at the Hague palace.

Tempel countered that that there is a sign at the entrance stating that replicas are on display. The newspaper says it was unable to verify the existence of such a sign.