Kill-Or-Cure Remedy Challenge: Approaches to Authenticity in the Interpretation and Preservation of Paintings by Edvard Munch at the Munch Museum


  • Jin Strand Ferrer Munch Museum
  • Terje Syversen Kulturetaten, Oslo
  • Tomas Markevicius Cologne Institute for Conservation Science, Germany



Conservation, Authenticity, Kill-or-cure remedy, Edvard Munch


Despite the controversies surrounding the artistic concept known to Edvard Munch conservators as the `kill-or-cure' remedy (leaving paintings outdoors to become weathered), this paper argues that this practice is an integral part of his artistic identity and must therefore be considered in conservation strategies and treatment choices. Starting with a brief overview of Munch's experimental painting techniques and use of materials, this paper introduces several challenges confronting conservators tasked with conserving Munch's works. To date, conservators' treatment of Munch's `kill-or-cure' remedy as an artistic concept has dominated and shaped the way conservators mediate and preserve his art. This paper shows how changes in conservation philosophies, as well as aesthetic and art historical theories, influence conservation treatments; ultimately affects the public's perception and appreciation of Munch's art. This paper argues that surface irregularities caused by Munch's `kill-or-cure' remedy are not only a central theme in Munch's work, but are especially relevant as marks of authenticity.


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