Clarence Buckingham Collection

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Posted by Allan ( on November 26, 2020 at 04:07:08:


Does anyone know anything about the Clarence Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints which was donated to the Art Institute of Chicago? I have googled it and found only the usual information which is readily available on the internet, but I understand there are books, but I have not been able to gain access to the books.

The reason I am interested is that a couple of years ago I posted on this noticeboard about a Hokusai print : Fujiwara No Yoshitaka (link : ) and it became apparent that the print that I have is subtly different from the prints on the Ukiyo-e database : Museum of Fine Arts in Boston etc, etc, which are taken to be first state (with yellow cloud) and second state (with green cloud) editions of this print - as per Morse's book on the series.

Since then I have come across, what I consider to be an almost identical version of my print in the Clarence Buckingham Collection. (To compare my print to this print look at the blue water block under the two egrets. The bottom-most cloud does not reach right across to the left-most rising steam/mist - like it does in the MFA etc versions. Once I found a version of this print which had this same characteristic - there was only one other on the internet - the rest of it matched for me).

Link :

There are some differences - eg: green cloud versus yellow cloud, some detail missing on the tree foliage in the bottom middle, and two places where a different color or no color was used, but otherwise they look the same to me.

I am interested to know if the version held by the Art Institute of Chicago is considered to be an early printing. Interestingly it has a yellow cloud block - which Morse in the book says they quickly replaced with a green cloud block with a space for the seal. If that is the case, it is intriguing as to why there are two prints (MFA and Clarence Buckingham Collection) that have the yellow blocks. Why would the yellow block be used again on what is quite clearly a re-cut version? And if my print is actually from the same printing as the Clarence Buckingham print (as I believe it to be), why would they swap out the yellow for the green again? If you wanted to produce a high-value reproduction, would you not just be better to just keep to the yellow block version?

I have emailed the Art Institute of Chicago in the hope that they can share with me the provenance of the Clarence Buckingham version. Maybe they have some information as to the printing date and purchase date. I am not sure that they will provide me with anything. I hope they will. But in the meantime I thought I might reach out to your noticeboard as I know there are some very knowledgeable people here who may have some more information.

Thank you,


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