Re: Speaking of Original and Reproduction......Hi Theo

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Posted by Andy on May 25, 2002 at 02:38:08:

In Reply to: Re: Speaking of Original and Reproduction......John? posted by Theo de Kreijger on May 24, 2002 at 21:47:52:

Hi Theo,

Thanks for the helpful words. Yes, wishful thinking! Very wishful. But very critical too. The trouble is that I can't decide which is excessive.

The print in question is unfortunately too expensive to just leap at, being close to $1000. But a rare piece by one of my favorite figures of the Tokugawa Period. The dealer is reputable I think, but there are tiny but definite differences between the version of this print I viewed in a book and this copy. My first big question is: how much does the book distort? And how much variation can one allow for impressions? How small of a difference constitutes a problem?

As I said, if it is a reproduction, it's a very early one. A nice looking print it is too, but at prices that approach a salary check, one needs more assurance.

: What I sense in your description is something I have a problem with myself, "Wishful thinking" that is. It causes a lot of pleasant excitement, but also a lot of disappointments. Differences between prints have always been tricky subjects. Some copies (or forgeries) have been made with such skill that they are very hard to distinguish from the real thing. So if you are talking about a Hiroshige then this might help:

: 1. If you really think that the print is wonderful, then go for it. That is, if the price is within a reasonable and affortable range. Copy or no copy.
: 2. Forget the lines and dots for a while, just look at the whole picture for a while. Is it rich in colors or is it a bit flat? Are some colors graded or mixed and do they flow with the curves of the sky and the see? Or are they just printed in one direction and with little variation? Are all the colors "in balance" or do some of them scream for attention?
: 3. If a woodblock gets worn, details get lost and lines get thicker and "fluffy". Some of them get left out or replaced. This doesn't mean that a print might get less attractive. It's a well known fact that some later Hiroshige prints are valued no less than early-crispy-ones. Some people prefer the later ones and don't care for "museum-proof" buys.
: 4. This also counts for copies. And some of them have been done by professionals, some have not. As long as they carry the seal of the (later) publisher, it's allright. If you mind the remarks form the odd collector then "ah! a Watanabe" is better for your self-esteem then "ah! yes ... nice ..." :o)

: Theo

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