Why consider a Reproduction Print
If you can afford an original and you don't mind keeping it in a dark drawer
in a temperature and humidity controlled room - No reason. If your finances
resemble mine rather than Bill Gates' and you like to see, handle, or frame
and display the prints, there might be a number of reasons.
- Reproductions are affordable, not cheap, but considering the labour that
has gone into them, very reasonably priced. This may be because the Japanese
Government supports the continued exercise of the woodblock production team
skills. How many chances are you going to have to enjoy a subsidy from Tokyo?
- Reproductions are much as the original artist intended them to be seen.
Originals tend to be tired these days and if not are extraordinarily valuable.
Have a look at this Shunsho original from the late 18th century and this Hiroshige
original from ca 1840. The colours have faded, the paper is toned, there are
wormholes throughout the Shunsho print and there are patches of dirt on the
Hiroshige print. The same images as reproductions are bright, clean and colourful.
I know they haven't been touched by the original artist but then how many
van Goghs do you expect to handle in your life anyway.
- There is a very strong possibility that if, after some years of use and
enjoyment, your reproductions are starting to look like originals, you can
get a new, bright, shiny, identical reproduction to replace it without mortgaging
the family castle.
- Some reproductions are so good that the publisher deliberately identifies
them as such so that they are not confused with originals. If Japanese experts
need this sort of help to separate reproductions from originals I don't expect
that you or I would be able to detect the differences.