Re: Utamaro?

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Posted by Hans Olof Johansson on March 19, 1998 at 09:30:48:

In Reply to: Utamaro? posted by Richard Heyworth on March 16, 1998 at 13:32:35:

: Could you please tell me if this is a later reprint of an earlier "Utamaro" print.

: It has a publishers seal, but appears to not have a signature. I am considering purchasing this print and would very much value your input on this subject. I like the print, the question is more of what is it worth?

You would have to be extremely lucky to find an original Utamaro print in such good condition as suggested by your image. Therefore, I have to assume that this is a 20th century reprint.

The print belongs to the series Fry shiki no asobi (Elegant pastimes in the four seasons), published in 1798-99. According to Timothy Clark's and Shg Asano's catalogue for the large Utamaro exhibition at the British Museum in 1995, nine designs from this series are known, and a further three are known only through written references.

The interesting thing about this particular print is, that it seems to be one of these last three: Uzuki no hototogisu (Cuckoo in the fourth month). If I'm not mistaken, this could be a reprint of an original that no longer exists. Such a reprint could, of course, be far more valuable than other reprints of similar age and quality.

Hopefully, there are some Utamaro experts out there, who read this and are able to give additional information.

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