Rarely does the individual collector have the opportunity to own a museum-caliber work of art. With "San Francisco, April 18, 1906", Mian Situ’s chronicling of the Chinese immigrant’s place in the expansion of the American West has hit a highwater mark.
At five o’clock on that April morning, the city of San Francisco had just begun to stir from its slumber. A mere fifteen minutes later, the entire city was in turmoil as it shook with the force of a massive earthquake. For days, what was left of the city would burn.
On Sacramento Street near Chinatown, the great disaster has driven citizens of all ethnicities and classes from their homes and, as one, they head for safer ground, unsure what the next few hours will bring. This is, perhaps, the defining element of the image, the balance between the human and emotional character of the composition with the magnitude of the historic event.