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Arnold Genthe

Arnold Genthe PhotographsCreated by: PICRYLDated: 1925
Arnold Genthe seated next to a woman friend in his studio in San Francisco
Arnold Genthe was born in Berlin. His father was a professor of Latin and Greek. Genthe followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a classically trained scholar; he received a doctorate in philology in 1894 from the University of Jena.

After emigrating to San Francisco in 1895 to work as a tutor for the son of Baron and Baroness J. Henrich von Schroeder, he taught himself photography. He was intrigued by the Chinatown part of the city and photographed, often secretly, its inhabitants. About 200 of his Chinatown pictures survive, and these comprise the only known photographic depictions of the area before the 1906 earthquake. The San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed Genthe's studio, but he rebuilt.

He was a friend of George Sterling, Jack London, Harry Leon Wilson, Ambrose Bierce, and Mary Austin. He was appointed in 1907 to the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery in Monterey’s luxury Hotel Del Monte, where he ensured that the work of important regional art photographers, such as Laura Adams Armer and Anne Brigman, was displayed with his own prints.

In 1911 he moved to New York City, where he remained until his death of a heart attack in 1942. He worked primarily in portraiture, and Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and John D. Rockefeller all sat for him. His photos of Greta Garbo were credited with boosting her career. He also photographed dancers, including Anna Pavlova, Isadora Duncan, Audrey Munson, and Ruth St. Denis, and his photos were featured in the 1916 book, The Book of the Dance.
1870
1870
slider-holder
1939
slider-holder
1939
3,335 Media in collectionpage 1 of 34
His first cigar, Chinatown, San Francisco

His first cigar, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Genthe's photographs of San Francisco's old Chinatown / photographs by Arnold Genthe ; selection and text by John Kuo Wei Tchen. New York : Dover Publications, 1984, pl. 117. Purc... more

Screen painting that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Screen painting that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Man carrying a child walking with another child, Chinatown, San Francisco

Man carrying a child walking with another child, Chinatown, San Franci...

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Reading wall notices, Chinatown, San Francisco

Reading wall notices, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Genthe's photographs of San Francisco's old Chinatown / photographs by Arnold Genthe ; selection and text by John Kuo Wei Tchen. New York : Dover Publications, 1984, pl. 54. Purch... more

The fish dealer's daughter, Chinatown, San Francisco

The fish dealer's daughter, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Genthe's photographs of San Francisco's old Chinatown / photographs by Arnold Genthe ; selection and text by John Kuo Wei Tchen. New York : Dover Publications, 1984, pl. 20. Alter... more

Three children in front of a cellar door, Chinatown, San Francisco

Three children in front of a cellar door, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943. ID INFO: plate #23 in Tchen

No likee, Chinatown, San Francisco

No likee, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Old Chinatown : a book of pictures / by Arnold Genthe ; with text by Will Irwin. New York : M. Kennerley, 1913, p. 99. Alternate title from a similar image in: Pictures of old Chi... more

Chinese American men and child in front of building with hanging lanterns, Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinese American men and child in front of building with hanging lante...

Photograph shows Chinese American men in traditional dress standing on a street in Chinatown, San Francisco. One man holds a child. Title devised by Library staff. Forms part of: Genthe photograph collection (L... more

Three children standing on a sidewalk, Chinatown, San Francisco
Children walking, Chinatown, San Francisco

Children walking, Chinatown, San Francisco

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Two men standing on a sidewalk, Chinatown, San Francisco

Two men standing on a sidewalk, Chinatown, San Francisco

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Men standing or walking down a sidewalk, Chinatown, San Francisco
Young girl walking down the street, looking into the camera, Chinatown, San Francisco

Young girl walking down the street, looking into the camera, Chinatown...

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Art object that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Art object that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Screen painting that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Screen painting that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

The drug store sign, Chinatown, San Francisco

The drug store sign, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Genthe's photographs of San Francisco's old Chinatown / photographs by Arnold Genthe ; selection and text by John Kuo Wei Tchen. New York : Dover Publications, 1984, pl. 42. Purch... more

Street scene, Chinatown, San Francisco

Street scene, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Street scene, Chinatown, San Francisco

Street scene, Chinatown, San Francisco

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943. vd image reversed 2/96

Jewish balloon man, Chinatown, San Francisco

Jewish balloon man, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Genthe's photographs of San Francisco's old Chinatown / photographs by Arnold Genthe ; selection and text by John Kuo Wei Tchen. New York : Dover Publications, 1984, pl. 60. Purch... more

Man and a boy walking down a sidewalk with other people, Chinatown, San Francisco

Man and a boy walking down a sidewalk with other people, Chinatown, Sa...

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Women and children walking down a street, Chinatown, San Francisco

Women and children walking down a street, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

Screen painting that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Screen painting that belonged to Arnold Genthe

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.

A corner crowd, Chinatown, San Francisco

A corner crowd, Chinatown, San Francisco

Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943. vd image: negative margins cropped

Man walking with a small child, Chinatown, San Francisco

Man walking with a small child, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title devised. Purchase; Genthe Estate; 1942 or 1943.