Lot 5
  • 5

Anonymous American Photographer

Estimate
5,000 - 7,000 USD
Sold
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Description

  • Anonymous American Photographer
  • PORTRAIT OF AN ASIAN MAN
  • daguerreotype
sixth-plate daguerreotype, in a half-case, 1850s

Catalogue Note

Daguerreotypes of Asian subjects are rare, despite the large population of Asians in the American West in the mid-19th century.  Both the style of the image and the presentation practically assure American authorship of the daguerreotype.  It is possible that the subject was one of many Chinese workers who came to America in the 1850s.  The tumultuous political conditions in China, as well as a series of droughts and floods, forced many Chinese citizens to leave their country for California.  This immigration accelerated through the 1850s: in 1851 there were only approximately 4,000 Chinese nationals in California; by 1852 their population approached 25,000.  The Chinese found work on the construction of the nation's railroads.  Many also found their way to the California gold fields.
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