[MSN] Much to the disappointment of visitors,

November 10, 2007 – 17:23

Prints replace originals at art exhibition

Agnes Winarti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Much to the disappointment of visitors, the Jakarta Historical Museum is keeping several original paintings in storage and displaying prints instead.

“I thought I would be able to see real paintings. I could find prints like these on the internet,” said Hermawan Pagarintan, a graphic design student at the University of Tarumanegara in West Jakarta, after visiting the museum Wednesday.

“We can’t look at the texture of the paintings and the brushstrokes used to create them,” Herman, 21, said.

The Jakarta Historical Museum, also known as Fatahillah Museum, on Jl. Taman Fatahillah, West Jakarta, is currently exhibiting 60 oil paintings of governor generals painted between 1610-1942, when the country was ruled by the Dutch.

The original versions of the paintings were only displayed on the opening day of the exhibition on Oct. 30.

For the remainder of the exhibition, which will end on Nov. 30, photographs of the paintings will be displayed.

“For security reasons, we can’t display the original paintings during the exhibition. We have to prevent damage and theft,” the head of Fatahillah Museum, MR Manik, told The Jakarta Post.

He said during the exhibition, the original paintings would be kept in the museum’s store room.

Dentist Deddy Giri said he visited the museum Wednesday after seeing an advertisement about the exhibition in a newspaper.

“But the exhibition isn’t like what was described in the advertisement,” he said.

Hermawan, who visited the museum with a friend, said the poor condition of other paintings in the museum was disappointing.

“Most paintings on display haven’t been taken care of, including paintings of King Salomon and Dutch East Indies governor generals Petrus van der Parra and J.P. Coen,” he said.

Some 20 original paintings are displayed at the museum on a daily basis. However, their frames are damaged and covered in dust.

Manik said signs instructing visitors not to touch the paintings were insufficient.

“Many visitors are driven to touch the paintings in spite of the signs. This damages the paintings,” he said.

Hermawan said old paintings in other parts of the world were cased in glass and kept at a certain temperature to prevent paint from peeling off.

Despite the fact the exhibition’s draw cards are locked away, some visitors to the Jakarta Historical Museum on Wednesday said they enjoyed the exhibition nonetheless.

“Although they are not the real paintings, they still provide a lot of background information about the 300 years of Dutch colonialism in this country,” physical therapist Amy Ayalloore from the U.S. said.

“And the drawings on the walls are very beautiful,” she said, pointing to an unfinished wall mural started in 1974 by the late Hariyadi S.

Hariyadi, from a generation of painters including Affandi and Sudjojono, painted several of the museum’s walls with the theme Jakarta in the Past.

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