Re: Mmm, I think we should take another look ...

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Posted by John Fiorillo on November 17, 2002 at 20:03:47:

In Reply to: Mmm, I think we should take another look ... posted by Theo de Kreijger on November 17, 2002 at 08:09:16:

Theo, et al.

I have become more and more reluctant to make judgments based only on small digital scans. Nevertheless, without having the prints at hand or doing further research, I would say that the Waseda print appears to be the genuine, intended, earlier edition. Guy's print probably has a spurious Hiroshige signature. The removal of the Kunisada signature from the lower right is just too crude and suspicious to avoid serious doubts.

In regard to Theo's speculation that a very skilled master printer has brought a worn keyblock to life (i.e., the Waseda impression), there are indeed occasional examples in which later impressions are printed with boldness and depth to camouflage the block wear, but I see overall weaknesses throughout Guy's print that suggest it is later than the Waseda specimen. This chronology would also be consistent with the replacement of an original signature.

As for the suggestion that the background is by Hiroshige and that the design was a dual production shared by Kunisada and Hiroshige, I doubt it in this case, given the signature problem. Also, such a landscape was well within Kunisada's graphic vocabulary. Its style reflects a Chinese-inspired treatment that various artists of the period could have easily produced and is not, “sui generis,” Hiroshige's.

As for the name of the child actor, a quick glance at the index of names in Nojima’s 'Kabuki jinmei jiten' did not yield an obvious match.


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