Posted by Alec W. (188.8.131.52) on May 21, 2018 at 14:14:07:
In Reply to: Re: Need help identifying this print posted by Bryan Lopez on May 21, 2018 at 08:34:44:
Printing history with these things is tricky, and I'm probably not the most qualified person here to comment on that, but a few comments...
Actor prints generally didn't have much of a shelf-life, and those of an artist like Kunisada wouldn't have had much of a foreign market to speak of. I think it's a pretty safe bet that those prints were made from the original blocks, probably within a few years of the original publication date.
For designs with more of an export market, such as anything by Utamaro, landscapes by Hiroshige or Hokusai, etc., you have to make an educated guess. Closely comparing the image to a known original (e.g. an example in a museum) can help reveal an old copy made from recarved blocks. Sometimes the seals are different, too.
However, good copies can be very hard to spot this way, and you often have to make a judgement based on paper quality, color preservation, etc. But in general, if it's a design by a "popular" artist and it has strong color and crisp paper, it's probably a reproduction.
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