Artist: Hiroaki (Shotei) Takahashi (1871-1945)
Woodblock Prints Title: Romantic Evening on a Boat
1st Publication: 1920
Size: 6-1/2 x 14-3/4 + Margins as shown
Date of this edition: 1920, 1st edition
Publisher: Wanatabe Shozaburo
Condition: A tiny clear spot near the bottom of the print, almost invisible, else very fine. Excellent colors, impression and overall condition.
Notes: Shotei created 500 Works or so before the Kanto earthquake that destroyed all the blocks and inventory left. Later on, he re-carved about half of it.
He also used various printer post earthquake, and came out with 2 or 3 of the same or similar designs, sometimes wrongly labelled as fake or plagiarism, although they were simply originals made by Shotei and published by other publishers or Wanatabe in order not to have copyright issues among the different printers.
This is the typical example of a print called fake or made by plagiarist, while in fact, it bears the #219 on the back, and the Made in Japan seal consistent with prints made in Japan between 1921 until 1942 exported to the USA, and printed by Wanatabe.
As per the # 219 on the back: this number doesn't mean that it was printed by 219 units or more. It was the catalog reference number used by Wanatabe before the earthquake. So if you have a Wanatabe catalog printed before 1923, you will find this print under the reference # 219. The new circa 1936 had different numbers for each print, therefore, # 219 no longer belong to this print. Please note that most of the inventory burned with the earthquake, leaving only a fraction of the quantity.
Finally, note that despite how great is the work of Shotei, his prints were efficiently produced and in enough quantity to fill the demand. Shotei was never copied during his lifetime, and even nowadays, where mass market copies are flooding the market from Hiroshige, Hokusai, Utamaro, Sharaku to name a few, you will notice that there are still no modern reprints from Shotei. Plagiarist never stop making reprints, especially not after the death of the artist...
Pictures: Pictures are taken outdoor, in the shade, to reflect true colors, without any enhancements of any kind. The last picture is taken indoor, with a light behind the print, to reveal the exact paper grain, holes if any, or other possible flaws.