Re: LOC vs Other Museums and sources

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Ukiyo-e Q & A ]

Posted by Hokusai's Pupil ( on February 04, 2015 at 08:33:45:

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

Dear Guy,

After further research, it seems that the reason why the LOC and a few other sources have listed this print as a later edition is indeed based on the Peter Morse and Roger Keyes' paper in that magazine # 18 in 1972

They describe this print along with 7 other from the same set of clever copies, that would have been made in the 1860's.

Although I totally understand where they came from, the amazing work they were able to achieve, and the research beneath, I would have to disagree with their conclusion, that I believe was just "convenient" more than rational.

They were led to believe that the set was made from trimmed print, because the edges are less accurate that the center of the print. And as the paper is from the edo era, they also concluded that it was posthumous reprint, but prior to the Takamizawa era ( early 1870's) >>> Result : 1860's reprint.

In fact, that set of prints have differences throughout the print, not only along the edges. But the striking dilemma in their conclusion, is that they carefully reviewed the blocks, without carefully reviewing the paper itself.

You can try to copy the blocks and succeed more or less, but there are a couple of things that you cannot copy : The digital prints of the blocks aka the wood grain, and the paper type used by each printer.

Compare prints from Wanatabe. No matter which artist, the paper is the same. Compare prints from Kichizo : Same type of paper for decades.
Compare print by eijudo : same type of paper.

If it was a reprint, but an unknown printer, then we should be able to find out who the printer was by comparing the type of paper used. Some investigation work here, as there are probably 250 printers from the edo era. And that is the problem with this case. The paper for that print is exactly same used by... EIJUDO

Since the printer were making their own paper, I will have to conclude that this is a second state of print, and not a set of reprints.

And it make sense to me: If you look at Hiroshige main series (53 Stations of the tokaido from Hoeido, 100 Views of Edo, 36 Views of Mount Fuji,... ) I can count at least 2 or 3 states of originals for each prints of the series. (Sometimes up to 5 states)

Why would Hiroshige main series have at least 2 or 3 known states of originals (Sometimes up to 5), and Hokusai, who has changed name more than 50 times would have only 1 state for each of his main series ? Does that sounds right to you ?

I believe that the reason why, is because Edward Strange did an accurate and complete research on Hiroshige in the early 1910's / 1920's, and that nobody did such a comparative work on Hokusai during the same era.
100 years later, we are bound to credit whoever would make such a research, with less and less sources and reference points from the 1830's as the time goes by.
Gian Carlo Calza, Roger Keyes, Peter Morse to name a few did an amazing job of research and compilation with the resources they had.

However, we cannot take all their research for granted. Today, we have internet, and this great research tool :

I truly believe that Hokusai has at least 2 or 3 original states for each set of popular prints.

As I am slowly building an online catalogue raisonne of Hokusai, with 100's of comparative reprints, I sincerely hope within the next 5 to 10 years that a very complete, accessible database of Hokusai prints will arise to properly credit originals and replica's, as a legacy to the future generation.

Meanwhile, we will have to take for granted the 1972's research on that set of prints I guess...

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Subject: Re: LOC vs Other Museums and sources


Optional Image URL:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Ukiyo-e Q & A ]