The Card Players
24.25 in HIGH x 29.5 in WIDE
(61.59 cm HIGH x 74.93 cm WIDE)
The Oakland Museum of California Kahn Collection

WAAM. N.Y. Our American Frontier: Images and Myths. 1973.

Arkelian, Marjorie. The Kahn Collection of Nineteenth-Century Paintings by Artists in California. TOM. 1975, p. 71. (J. Nemeth,11/94) Per Grace Hudson Museum exhibit label: Rufus Wright, a genre and portrait artist who spent most of his life in New York and Washington D.C., visited California and the mining camps is 1857. Twenty-five years later, in 1882--the year of the first national Chinese Exclusion Act--he completed this period image. Almost certainly, the painting was intended as a commentary on the anti-Chinese fervor of the 1870s and 1880s, with its clear references to Bret Harte's satirical poem, "Plain Language from Truthful James," 1870 (see Harte's biography screen for the text of the poem), more popularly known as "The Heathen Chinee." In what would have been at the time an obvious contrast to the well-known scene described in Harte's poem, Wright's Chinese card player seems to have won the whole pot honestly. Harte's satirical poem, renamed "The Heathen Chinee," enjoyed great popularity during the height of America's xenophobic response to Chinese immigration.

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