Tsinghua University Art Museum in Beijing hosted “Vision and Reflection: Photographs of China in the 19th Century from the Loewentheil Collection,” the museum’s inaugural photography exhibition, in 2018-2019. The exhibition presented masterpieces of early photography of China by twenty-one famous photographers, photographic studios and anonymous artists, among them Lai Fong (Li Fang, aka Lai Afong). The following year, in February 2020, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presented “黎芳Lai Fong (ca. 1839-1890): Photographer of China”, the first museum exhibition of photographs devoted to a single 19th century Chinese photographer. The exhibition included nearly fifty photographs made by Lai Fong in the 1870s and 1880s. Most were selected from the more than 500 photographs attributed to Lai Fong in the Loewentheil Photography of China Collection of more than 20,000 early photographs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Research Institute and Cornell University Library also loaned photographs to the exhibition. Access to “黎芳Lai Fong (ca. 1839-1890): Photographer of China” was limited due to the global health crisis. This article presents selected photographs from that exhibition and examines Lai Fong’s place as a leading figure in the history of photography in China.
Stacey Lambrow. “The Art of Lai Fong.” Arts of Asia, Spring 2021.