Collection of Rare Early Photographs and Photo-books on March 5th

An internationally significant private collection of early photography will be auctioned by PBA Galleries on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

The collection was amassed by Dr. Robert Enteen while living in Paris and other major European cities. It includes an estimated 10,000 photographs, photo-books, and ephemera.

92 photographs from Fratelli Alinari

The earliest items date from 1839, the dawn of photography, to 1939, spanning the medium’s first century. Photography originated in France and England, but the technology spread quickly throughout the globe. The collection includes original works by numerous luminaries, including  Fox Talbot, Charles Negré, Charles Marville, Edouard Baldus, Matthew Brady, Timothy O´Sullivan, William Henry Jackson, Eadweard Muybridge, Edward Curtis, Félix Nadar, Félix Bonfils, Francis Frith, Fratelli Alinari, Julia Margaret Cameron, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Eugene Atget, Man Ray, André Kertesz, Kimbei Kusakabe, Lewis Hine, Karl Blossfeldt, and others.

The Journal of the French Academy of Sciences announced the new medium in 1839. This announcement is among the many high points in the collection, which also includes paper negatives; one of only four known examples of the earliest paper photograph of Charles Darwin (1854); an album of over 100 photographs of a tsarist estate in Russia c. 1895; an extremely rare first edition, first issue of Man Ray’s first book of photos; and the only known complete set of Yellowstone Albertypes taken by William Henry Jackson, which influenced the US Congress to designate Yellowstone the first national park in the world. 

Eleven stereoviews of NorCal

According to the collection’s owner, Robert Enteen: “The photographs in this museum-quality collection are notable not only because there are many exquisite images, but also because they have historical significance. One can see transitions in photographic technology, materials, and styles, as well as the medium’s enormous influence in medicine and science, the arts, politics, education, travel and ethnology, history, architecture, religion, and other fields of human endeavor.”

Dr. Enteen, originally from New York City, has been collecting antiques, rare books and prints for over 50 years.  His photography collection began at a flea market in Paris in 2013, when he acquired a large group of early photographs by Adolphe Braun. Subsequently, he added to his growing collection in Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. He has intensively studied the field of early photography, which helped him curate this comprehensive collection.

Binkley’s Japan the Edition De Luxe, 1897

Bruce MacMakin, Executive Vice President of PBA Galleries, notes: “The Enteen Collection is among the largest private collections of early photography ever placed in auction.  It includes European, American, Asian and African works by most of the great photographers.  In my experience, it comes closest to an American version of Sotheby’s celebrated Paris auction of the Thérèse and André Jammes collection.”

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction on Monday, March 2nd from 1:00-5:00pm, Tuesday, March 3rd and Wednesday, March 4th from 9:00am-5:00pm, or Thursday, March 5th from 9:00am-5:00pm. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected].