Osaka Oban Orphans

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Posted by Theo de Kreijger on December 21, 2002 at 16:33:51:

Dear all,

I hope you dont mind that I want to share my worries about the growing number of "Osaka Oban Orphans" with you.

* Osaka oban prints on the market
Osaka oban prints are a rarity in Ukiyo-e. Next to Edo (old Tokyo) prints their numbers are small. Despite this fact they enjoy a growing interest and this makes that more and more dealers add them to their stock. The quality of the prints is often high and the prices in most cases are modest.

* Poliptychs are often by different artists
A lot of the designs consist of two or more prints. Some are even 8 or 10 prints wide. But in contrast with their Edo counterparts these poliptychs are often collaborations between artists of the same "school" or "circle". Examples of such circles are those around the artist Hokushu, Yoshikuni, Ashikuni and Hokuei.

* The oban orphanage grows
But now it seems that these Osaka works of art get separated thanks to their own success, merely because they are by different artists. Some dealers are ignorant (I didn't know that they're from the same design), some dealers pretend ignorance (Oh, sorry, did I do it again?) and some dealers just are not very interested in maintaining the integrity of the piece of art in the first place ($$$).

* Creating orphans might backfire
There is not much one can do about this practise . When someone possesses a work of art he may do what he like with it. He may enjoy it, burn it, study it, wrap fish and chips in it or sell it. In the last case a seller shows no respect towards the customer if he serves the custommer only parts of the complete piece just for the sake of money. Such buys might eventually backfire and the dealer might get "flamed" or "ignored". As the Internet is fast, examples of these deals are popping-up more and more. Nice and complete triptychs sold at sites of respectable dealers suddenly appear separated at different locations weeks after the sale. Sometimes they even get separated at the same site because "they are by different artists"(?!?).

* Who am I talking about?
No one in particular, really :o) I just notice that this is getting more and more a trend. And it must be also a disappointment for the honorable dealers who try to stick to doing business in a decent way. Poliptychs are simply more difficult to sell, as they are expensive. On the other hand: having nice complete Osaka poliptychs in you stock might be a good indication that you must be a trustworthy dealer :o)=)



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