Lot 270 of 364:
Original 1898 Chinatown drawing by noted San Francisco commercial artist  

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Lot closed - unsold
$600 - $900

Original 1898 ink drawing of a Chinese family in a Chinatown street scene by a noted San Francisco commercial artist

Clarence M. Leavy





Signed C.Leavy and inscribed “To ‘Butch’, Jan. ‘98”. 9 x 15” visible image, matted, in 13.5 x 21.5” period frame. A skillfully-drawn scene of old Chinatown - a favorite subject, at the turn of the century, of caucasian artists like Leavy, an alumnus of the San Francisco School of Design. Not until the World War I era did Chinese-American artists like Wylog Fong try their hand at artistically idealizing their own community. (See1920-30 listing below)

Coming from a prominent San Francisco Jewish family - his brother was City Controller of San Francisco - Clarence Levy drew this Chinatown scene before becoming Advertising Manager for Cyrus Noble, the best-selling West coast whiskey. In that role, he painted two  huge western gambling scenes as whiskey advertisements, prints of which were prominently displayed in many 1900-era California saloons. Depicting men in bowler hats betting at a roulette table and cowboys and "gents" grouped around Faro card table, those prints now bring hefty sums from collectors of Western barroom art, But this Chinatown scene may be the only survival of what was probably his greater youthful aspirations to artistic prominence.


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