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'Chinatown, San Francisco' by Edward Wilson Currier (1903)


SKU 0878

'Chinatown, San Francisco', gouache on fine art paper, by Edward Wilson Currier (1903). Spofford Alley in San Francisco's Chinatown is best known for an address (number 36) where Dr. Sun Yat-Sen plotted the overthrow of China's last dynasty. During Prohibition, it was the site of turf battles over local bootlegging and protection rackets. Today it is lined with seniors' community centres. However, the quiet alley livens up in the evenings when a Chinese orchestra strikes up a tune, mah-jongg games begin with a cascade of clicking tiles, and barbers and florists use the pretence of sweeping their doorsteps to gossip. In this artist's depiction, a man smokes a long-stemmed Chinese pipe under the awning and colourful lanterns hanging from the wooden supports while a child looks on. The artwork is interesting from several standpoints including architectural, cultural and historical. Shortly after this work was painted, the neighbourhood was completely destroyed in the 1906 earthquake that levelled most of the city. From 1910 to 1940, Chinese immigrants were detained at the Angel Island immigration station in the San Francisco Bay. To be permitted entry to the United States, thousands of mostly Chinese immigrants crossing the Pacific to San Francisco had to enter through the gauntlet of Angel Island, and were detained for months in a purgatory of isolation. E.W. Currier painted several works in Chinatown from the beginning of the century until about 1915. 

The artwork is in good vintage condition and has been newly framed and glazed with museum quality glass (anti-reflective and UV protective). See this listing's accompanying photos to appreciate its condition and aesthetic qualities. We have also included images from the original backing of the painting for your enjoyment. It is signed and dated in the lower right hand corner of the painting: 'E.W. Currier 1903'. Upon request a video of the work may be provided.

About the Artist: Edward Wilson Currier (1857–1918) was an American painter born in Marietta, Ohio. He was educated at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and opened a studio in San Francisco, California.  He is best known for his oil and watercolour paintings of landscapes, still lifes and maritime scenes.

Dimensions with Frame:

H 47.0 cm / 18.5"

W 39.0 cm / 15.4"

Dimensions without Frame:

H 28.5 cm / 11.2"

W 21.0 cm / 8.3"