Current Exhibition:
William Odiorne's Paris
Vintage photographs from the 1920s

June 5, 2014 - August 23, 2014

Hours: Tues - Sat 11–5:30 pm & by appointment
First Thursdays of the month open until 7:30pm

Contact:   415-781-1122   •
49 Geary Street • Suite 410 • San Francisco, CA 94108

View photographs from our inventory by clicking on these galleries:

(Please Note: The website is best viewed on the Chrome browser)

William Odiorne's Paris

A romantic, classical vision of The City of Light in the 1920s,
captured in a group of vintage, impressionistic photographs

June 5, 2014 -August 23, 2014

View a Slideshow of Photographs from the Exhibition
Click on the first image, then use the arrows below to scroll through.

Details and Pricing

Ever since photography was invented in Paris in 1839, when the first daguerreotype was made there, The City of Light has been a beloved subject for photographers.

William C. Odiorne, an American, came to Paris in 1924. Despite the new photographic modernism emerging all around him, Odiorne preferred to work in a more traditional style. He captured a romantic, classical vision of Paris in the 1920’s. His images are pictorial -- soft focus and impressionistic.

Stephen White writes: “Odiorne was 43 when he came to Paris. At a time of experimentation and modernism, he was an anachronism, a throwback to the 19th century, who delighted in the history of this fabled city rather than the artistic freedom of his contemporaries. He worked quietly on his own, capturing a portrait of his adopted city with a pictorial softness that reveals his personal enchantment with it. His photographs did not document the times. They did not shock. They were done softly and quietly for his own pleasure. Because of that the images capture an eternal Paris, a city where horse and automobile moved side by side, where barges glided along the Seine, and one could browse the open bookstores beside the river. Odiorne worked on each print for hours, to bring together the right balance of elements as attempted to capture the city he had come to.” (excerpted, with permission, from Stephen White’s introduction to his Odiorne exhibition catalogue, December, 1977)


ROBERT TAT GALLERY sells photographic images of all types. Our inventory includes:
- Vintage and later photographs of the master photographers, from the 19th to the 21st centuries;
- Camera Work gravures and Pictorialist works from the early 20th century;
- Modernist abstract works;
- Lesser-known mid-century artists;
- Vernacular and Found Images by unknown photographers;
- Contemporary works;
- Male imagery, including classic physique photographs and affectionate men;
- San Francisco historical material.

Robert Tat has a special interest in 20th century European and American Modernism. This includes classic modernism (photographs made between the two World Wars), and extends to a broader range of work influenced by the modernist school. It also encompasses 19th century photographs that anticipate modernism, vernacular and other anonymous works with a modernist sensibility, and contemporary works.

ROBERT TAT GALLERY is located in San Francisco's premiere gallery building at 49 Geary Street, Suite 410, near Union Square. The Gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday 11:00 AM - 5:30 PM. For further information, please call 415-781-1122. We also frequently exhibit at art fairs.

To be on our mailing list and receive periodic updates when new material is posted on this site, please send us an email with your name, phone (optional) and photo interests.

Back to Top


We are always looking for fine photographs to purchase or consign. If you have photographs you would like to sell, please contact us.

Back to Top


If you are looking for a particular photographic image, works by a specific photographer or a certain style of photograph, please contact us with your request. If we don't have it in inventory we'll be pleased to search for you. We have resources for photographic material all over the world.

Back to Top


What is a Salon photograph?
Numerous camera clubs around the world sponsor regular exhibitions, called salons, where members of other clubs compete to show work. The salons during the first half of the 20th century were particularly rich, featuring the work of many artists who later became famous. We take a special interest in the the works of lesser known salon photographers, often serious amateurs or commercial professionals doing their own work on the side. Their photographs are frequently beautifully composed and crafted, with an aesthetic and print quality rivaling that of the celebrated artists of the day. Many collectors appreciate salon work for these reasons -- and because it is more reasonably priced than works by better known artists. Salon prints may bear exhibition labels or stamps on the reverse of the photograph's mount, indicating awards or other participation in various salons.

Back to Top

What is a Vernacular photograph?
The term "vernacular" literally means "of the commonplace." In photography collecting, it refers to photographs which were made without artistic intent. This includes commercial photographs, personal snapshots and albums, historical images, scientific photographs, etc. Many collectors find vernacular images interesting, both for subject matter and for the occasional image that has an aesthetic appeal, albeit unintentional.

Back to Top

What is a Found Image?
Our Found Images are specially selected snapshots screened with the same criteria as a fine art photograph: artistic appeal, engaging or emotional subject matter, and print quality. We search through about 1000 pieces to find one "gem in the rough" that meets our standards. There is growing interest in collecting snapshots and a new appreciation of them as art, with several fine arts museums mounting exhibitions during the past few years. Found Images from Robert Tat's collection were exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1998 as part of their "Snapshots: The Photography of Everyday Life" show.

Back to Top