Re: Interpolation of Signatures

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Posted by Anders Rikardson on November 20, 2002 at 08:00:23:

In Reply to: Mulberry paper pulp ... posted by Theo de Kreijger on November 18, 2002 at 00:50:43:

I have read your thread here, and without seeing the print in front of me (Theo ao might also have a point) I would say this is one of the type of “reconstructions” made during 1910s-20s for the american market. In 1910s and 20s the Japanese dealer was faced with a dilemma, most of the great prints had already been sold to Europe, when the collecting wave hit USA. The Japanese dealers were desperate to come up with fine prints for their USA clients. What to do?

They came up with a novel idea, enhance faded out prints, interpolate signature and indulging in dubious restoration practices. For more information please read Julia Meeche's book on F.L. Wright.

Why forge a Hiroshige actor print. The 1924 (?) Hiroshige exhibition raised the demand for very rare and unusual prints by Hiroshige, and early actor prints by Hiroshige is among the most rare. Even today they command serious money.

Most common is to see reprinted colours, interpolated signatures are rarer and most often encountered is Utamaro on otherwise unsigned Okubi-e prints ( or prints with removed signature, but also Shunsho prints with interpolated Sharaku signatures are encountered aso. They are very difficult to spot and in auctions salae were each lot is only alotted a few minutes, they usually fall between the cracks.

I have never seen another actor print with an interpolated Hiroshige signature, this might well have been done for selling to Wright oas. Quite a rarity.

The forgerer got everything right except he couldn’t envision, the birth of the era of IT and LuLu’s find of the rather obscure Kunisada print. A mystery which took 70/80 years to solve.

These prints are seen every now and then in the major auction houses, estimated at 10’000s of dollars, also we find them in the storages of museums. The enhancements are usually exceedingly difficult to spot

Some of the dealers (their grandchildren), who forged prints and later had Wright thrown out of Japan, are still active as antique dealers.

Today this type of forging is not a concern, as it seems to costly and also I would imagine impossible to find a person with both the skills and the lack of integrity to do such a thing.

The forgeries one has to be careful about today is Shin hanga with interpolated and or removed seals.

Somebody mentioned forgeries with plastic block and similar, these are not deceptive. If you can’t see the difference put a forgery next to a genuine print and the differences in printing colour, paper aso becomes so apparent you will never make a misstake on these again.

Anders Rikardson

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