Stephan Loewentheil left the practice of law to become an antiquarian over 35 years ago.
His most important collection, which he continues to develop and exhibit, is the Loewentheil China Photography Collection. The collection, comprising more than 21,000 photographs, is the most important collection of early China photography in private hands. The collection, which continues to be enhanced, includes examples of the most valuable and important China photographs of the nineteenth century. Selections from the collection have been exhibited in Beijing at the Tsinghua University Art Museum, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University and in other institutions in New York and London.
Mr. Loewentheil is a leading dealer of rare books, manuscripts, and photographs, with major private and institutional clients worldwide. Among the treasures that he has handled are the earliest extant Biblical scroll containing the Exodus story, several examples of Shakespeare’s First Folio, leaves of the original manuscript of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the original corrected proof sheets of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and the Mathew Brady John Calhoun daguerreotype, the most valuable Brady photographic portrait ever sold.
Photographs from his collection are now at leading institutions in the United States and in Europe including the Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Library of Congress, and Cornell University, and he has loaned his photographs to institutions worldwide. Over the decades, he has formed world-renowned collections of 19th-century photography including famed portraits of Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Mathew Brady and the American Civil War, the early American West, the Holy Land, and the history of the carte-de-visite. His collection includes landmark photographs by leading early photographers from throughout the world.
A leading figure in the world of rare books and manuscripts, Mr. Loewentheil has played an important role in helping authorities to identify and repatriate books stolen from libraries and museums around the world. He has spoken on the subject at the British Library.
Mr. Loewentheil lives in New York City.