San Francisco’s Old Chinatown: Photographs by Arnold Genthe

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This self-taught photographer created hundreds of glass-plate negatives that document the exotic sights and rich street life of Chinatown before its devastation in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Thirty of these works are shown as a group for the first time in an exhibition that unveils Genthe’s early career as a pictorialist photographer, San Francisco’s Chinatown during the turn-of-the-century, and the history of these illuminating photographs.

The images on display were purchased by the Fine Arts Museums from Genthe’s estate in 1943. San Franciscos Old Chinatown: Photographs by Arnold Genthe is co-curated by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator Karin Breuer and Dr. Rodger Birt, professor of humanities at San Francisco State University. The exhibition travels to the Chinese Culture Center in January 2000.

Currently on view