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Posted by Fugitive Purple on October 18, 2002 at 04:21:01:

In Reply to: Re: John Fiorillo's VIEWING JAPANESE PRINTS; COLOUR posted by James King on October 18, 2002 at 00:39:18:

James, I think I understand the basic point, but I think even with your outline it's not so clear cut as to eliminate the subjective. Color changes can occur, for example, as a result not only of exposure to light, but to acidity, or to chemicals. The colors you mention might be there but changed in hue - just as there are various shades of paper tones, so do the hues change with the paper. Therefore toning would have to be considered as a component of color condition. The other issue is what period you are discussing. Certainly the scale for fading would be broader for 18th century ukiyo-e than for mid-late 19th century, where even a little fading would mean a big drop in value. Basically, the point is that there are many overlapping factors that go under the term "color". To judge a print properly, there probably needs to be more factors assessed than the traditional holy trinity of color/impression/condition.

But I am beginning to fade....









: My BASIC point is that there is no place on the web where the thorny issue of colour is adequately discussed. I don't think that a colour evaluation system on which everyone could agree could be established, but I do think an oustanding website such as VIEWING JAPANESE PRINTS could take a stab at offering and illustrating guidelines such as EXCELLENT: Colours are fresh and original; FINE: Colours are oustanding with perhaps a few of the fugitive colours (blue, yellow, purple) slightly down; VERY GOOD: Fugitive colours are markedly down; other colours are intact and bright; GOOD: marked fading of the fugitive colours or lack of brightness overall in colour values; POOR: Complete fading of most colours.

: I did not mean to be unappreciative of John Fiorillo's efforts: I was only offering a suggestion as to how the website could be improved. Overall, the writing on this website is so outstanding that the various elements should be placed into a major book. Would be extremely valuable in that format.

: : James, in an ideal world there would be a single standard for rating prints that everyone would follow. Unfortunately, in the world as we have it, about the best one can hope for is to know how a particular person or dealer rates prints, and how much his/her standards can be trusted. Sadly, the only way to do this at present is to see the print in person, as scans can be tricky. It does help to establish a knowledge of the subject for oneself though, and that's where J.F.'s site is of aid to the collector. I'm not sure it's realistic (or appreciative) to demand more of someone who's volunteered his time/energy for the joy of doing so. But perhaps if you had ideas on developing a rating system you could introduce them here and they could be modified and picked up by Fiorillo and others.

: : Fiorillo's article appears in Andon, which is the publication of a Society for the Japanese Arts. You need an introduction to become a member. Perhaps you might ask J.F. to introduce you if you have an interest.

: : : As someone who has only begun to collect recently, I would like to say how much useful information is contained on this outstanding website. However, I think MORE could be added on what constitutes poor, fair, good, very good, excellent and fine colour in the older prints. There seems to be a lot of confusion among dealers and auction houses on this point. For example, I have noticed that prints in which the yellows, blues and purples are decidedly down are often listed as having very good or excellent colour. I think that an article on this point could be added even though there are already three entries under FADING.
: : : I cannot find a proper reference on the web for the periodical in which Fiorillo's recent article on Eizan is published. Could John F. or someone else give me this reference. Thanks.

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