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The Chinese Fishmonger by Theodore Wores / American Art
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The Chinese Fishmonger

1881 Theodore Wores Born: San Francisco, California 1859 Died: San Francisco, California 1939 oil on canvas 34 3/4 x 46 1/8 in. (88.3 x 117.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson 1972.153 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 15B



Luce Center Label

Theodore Wores came to know San Francisco's Chinatown as a child, when he walked home from his father's hat business through the bustling Asian community. The Chinese Fishmonger was the first painting he completed after returning to America from Europe, and the dark tones, strong highlights, and expressive brushstrokes reflect his Munich training. Wores struggled to get Chinese people to pose for his paintings until one of his young assistants, a Chinese student named Ah Gai, accompanied him to translate his requests. In this image, Wores captured the glistening, slimy scales of the fish as they slid from the basket onto the tabletop, so that we can imagine the exotic smells and hubbub of Chinatown's street markets.

Keywords

Architecture Interior - commercial - market

Ethnic - Chinese

Figure male

Object - game - fish

Object - other - basket

Occupation - vendor - fishmonger

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Theodore Wores

Born: San Francisco, California 1859 Died: San Francisco, California 1939