Re: LOC vs Other Museums and sources

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Posted by Hokusai's Pupil ( on January 26, 2015 at 05:35:33:

In Reply to: Re: LOC vs Other Museums and sources posted by Guy Pepermans on January 24, 2015 at 21:10:30:

Dear Mr Pepermans,

Thank you for your interesting intake. (And Thank you Mr Kahn for your response)

I believe you are opening the door to another debate here: What is an original edition, and How many original edition can exist for a same print, especially when a print becomes very popular ?

Most of the prints are printed once. If they are not sold out, they are most likely never reprinted.

However, it is a very different story when the prints are very popular and sells well. What happen when the blocks are tired, break, crack, get damaged or get lost ? Is it the end of the printing or are the damaged block being replaced to sell more ?

I believe that the blocks are replaced. Sometime it is only one block, sometimes it is the entire set. This is why we see so many variation between popular originals, variation of colors or in the key blocks, all original to me.

In that particular case (Kirifuri Falls), I have referenced 17 different sets of blocks, by 8 different printers.
This includes 2 original sets of blocks : The most popular one that you have very well referenced, but also this second sets of block with the river going toward the bottom margin.

Then I have referenced 3 very close copies that were obviously made in the intent to be sold as original :
1 copy from Sakai Kokodo made in the 1870's, one copy from Takamizawa made in the 1890's and one by Adachi made in the 1910's. (Incidentally, All 3 sets of close replica's have the river going toward the right margin.)
Finally, I have referenced another 12 different sets of blocks made post 1930's by various printers, each printers labelling it very distinctively as a later reprint.

In my mind, in this very particular example, I have no doubts that this second set of blocks with the river going toward the lower margin is indeed an original edition. The main reason is that the pattern in the paper is exactly the same than in the "original" edition, because both were printed by Eijudo.

No matter how close "the copies" (Adachi, takamizawa, Kokodo) are from "the original" by comparing the blocks, all of them have a different type of paper pattern, very distinctive for each printer.
Take 3 Takamizawa prints by 3 different artists all printed in 1890, and compare them with a light behind: You will see the exact same paper pattern, because the paper used by the printer is exactly the same. It is just like a watermark of their brand. It sure might have done the trick in the 1890's, but when today, you place the 17 different edition of a same print next to each other, it is not going to fool you.
Nothing look closer from the paper pattern used by Eijudo, than another print also printed by Eijudo. As a matter of fact, I challenge you to take 3 prints from any artist printed by Eijudo in 1832, and to compare them in the light: you will see the exact same paper pattern because they were made by the same printer.

Would you call a print made by Hokusai and printed by Eijudo in 1833 a knock off, as opposed to the exact same print made by Hokusai and printed by Eijudo in 1832 because he used a different block or a different set of blocks, very most likely because the original set of block was "tired" ?

Say they run 1000 prints with a 1st set of blocks, then they have to switch a couple of tired blocks and run another 200 with the new set of blocks, finally the sales went down. We now have 1200 prints, 1000 of the same 1st design, and 200 of the same 2nd design, all originals to me.

Later, for another print, they run 200 to start, but after review, Hokusai doesn't like the settings, and want to change the title's position from the left side to the right side of the print. With the new set of recardved blocks, they run 4000 prints. Does that make the very 1st edition a knock off because most of the known "originals" 200 years later have the title on the right side of the print ?

Do you think that they advertise the world:" Buyer Beware": Sorry, we d

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