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Loewentheil Photography of China Collection


Dragon Women: Early Chinese Photography

March 14 – May 15, 2024
10 W. 18th Street, 7th Floor Penthouse

By appointment only: 646-838-4576 or 410-602-3002

We are pleased to present Dragon Women: Early Photographs of China during this year’s Asia Week New York, which offers a rare occasion to view some of the earliest photographs of Chinese women, most taken in the 1860s and 1870s. The exhibition explores women’s place in society in the final decades of imperial China, as well as the representation of Chinese women in photography, exposing female attitudes toward the camera in the late Qing dynasty.

Highlights include a rare photographs by the first known Chinese female photographer, Mae Linda Talbot, and works by Hedda Morrison, and Isabella Bird, as well as masterworks by Chinese and international photographers such as Sze Yuan Ming Studio, Pun Lun Studio, A Chan Studio, Lai Fong, and John Thomson, whose Portrait of Three Women in Beijing, circa 1868, is on view.  We look forward to welcoming you to our New York location at 10 W. 18th Street, 7th Floor.

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About Us

The Loewentheil Photography of China Collection is the world’s greatest collection of early photography of China. The collection, with its vast numbers, fine condition, and superior quality, could not be duplicated today, as the most important material is no longer available at any price.

The collection was formed over more than three decades of dedicated connoisseurship. It comprises about 14,000 photographs spanning the earliest days of paper photography from the 1850s through the 1930s, the majority from before the end of the Qing Dynasty. In addition, there are about 7,000 photographs from the Ernst Boerschmann Archive on the history of Chinese architecture.

The collection also includes the largest holding of Qing Dynasty photographs in the world. This is an unsurpassed Chinese artistic, historical and sociological treasure. No other existing resource of China can match its beauty and cultural significance while demonstrating the foundation which allowed for the building of modern China.

The finest masterpieces of Chinese photography created by virtually every artistic giant of early photography of China is also represented. This is the world’s foremost holding of early photographic works of China by both Chinese and international photographers. It was assembled with an emphasis on images of the highest artistic and historical quality in the best possible condition.

The Loewentheil Collection presents the historic architecture of China’s ancient cities and the monuments of its revered ancestors. The images portray the natural beauty of China from the rivers to the mountains and from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City. Every aspect of Chinese life and culture, from business to aesthetics, from dress to folkways, is captured here.

“With its large quantity and high quality of photographs, the Loewentheil Collection is a treasure that should be studied and explored systematically by the academic circle.” – Qi Xuemin, Professor of Humanities Tsinghua University