The Chinese Merchants

Artist: Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 50.4 x 84 cm (19 13/16 x 33 1/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 09: Freer’s Global Network

Oil painting

United States

To 1910
N.E. Montross (1849-1935), New York [1]

Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from N.E. Montross [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Voucher No. 32, Charles L. Freer to N.E. Montross, Box 117, Folder 3, Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC copy in object file. On the voucher, the painting is described as "one painting in oil by Childe Hassam 'The Chinese Merchants', oblong."
[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Research completed on July 17, 2022.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

N.E. Montross (C.L. Freer source) 1849-1932
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Hassam visited Oregon during the summer of 1908, completing this view of Portland's Chinatown after his return to New York. The subject matter is unusual for Hassam, but recalls a series of shop-front scenes painted by Whistler in the 1880s. Like Whistler, Hassam treated the street as a shallow stage set, emphasizing the geometrical patterns created by the play of variously colored rectangular shaped-bricks, signs, windows, doors, walls, sidewalk, alley, and the white diagonal of broken light splayed across the near foreground.

Published References
  • Donelson F. Hoopes. Childe Hassam. New York. pl. 27.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. Paintings, Pastels, Drawings, Prints, and Copper Plates by and Attributed to American and European Artists, Together with a List of Original Whistleriana, in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 2, 2nd ed. Washington, 1967. pl. 3.
  • Margaret E. Bullock. Childe Hassam: Impressionist in the West. Exh. cat. Portland, OR, December 11, 2004 - March 6, 2005. p. 47, fig. 25.
  • untitled article: Academy Notes. no. 9 Buffalo, July 1914. p. 87.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 195, fig. 133.
  • H. Barbara Weinberg. Childe Hassam: American Impressionist. Exh. cat. New York and New Haven, 2004. p. 331, fig. 337.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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