All 37 of Vermeer’s works, Re-created, will be displayed in a single gallery and as they would have originally appeared, fresh from Vermeer’s brush.
Re-create is not the replication or the imitation of an artwork. Nor is it the process of cleaning or restoration. It is not a contemporary representation of the artwork, nor is it a re-interpretation inspired by the original artwork. “Re” means both “once more, anew” and to “return to a previous state”; the Re-create process achieves both. Re-create is the practice of creating a new artwork, a translation of the original which reflects the wishes and the worldview of the artist.
Led by Dr. Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, Japan’s Re-create Project has brought together art expertise, scientific analysis, the highest quality materials, and cutting-edge printing technology to turn back the clock on these treasured artworks. Vermeer’s paintings, which remain today, have all degraded over the several centuries; detail has been lost, and color has faded. The damage is irreparable; there is no way to restore the paintings to their original state. And yet it is in this lost detail that the true spirit of Vermeer as an artist lies. Seeing what is there, but has been lost, is the goal of Re-create, and now there is the opportunity to see the master’s paintings as they have not been seen for centuries.
The exhibition continues at Openhouse (201 Mulberry Street, Nolita, Manhattan) through March 21. Open Monday–Sunday, 9am–5pm. $10 admission.