“WEALTHY SHOPPERS WERE READY TO SPEND”: LARGE PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTFOLIO OF 34 OVERSIZE VINTAGE SILVER GELATIN PRINTS OF THE CELEBRATED SAKS FIFTH AVENUE STORE, CIRCA 1924
DURYEA, Drix. Photographic portfolio (Saks & Company, Fifth Avenue, New York). New York, circa 1924. Folio (15 by 19-1/2 inches), contemporary full red morocco gilt, marbled endpapers; 37 leaves. $3500.
Fascinating vintage portfolio of 34 silver gelatin prints by Drix Duryea depicting the famous Saks Fifth Avenue department store in New York City.
"When Saks Fifth Avenue opened, between Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Streets, on September 15, 1924, shoppers in fur coats and pearls mobbed the sales floors. The first package out its doors was a silk top hat, sent to President Calvin Coolidge. The Roaring Twenties had brought sudden prosperity to a nation tired of sacrifice, and wealthy shoppers were ready to spend" (The New Yorker). These 34 silver gelatin prints, each measuring 10-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches, capture the elegance of the massive luxury store at its birth: its stately exterior, its window displays of items ranging from men's golf outfits to ladies' imported furs, its sprawling shoe departments, and such amenities as the "Georgian Beauty Salon" for women and the "Juvenile Barber Shop" for their children. New York commercial photographer Drix Duryea, who frequently photographed luxury architecture, is also noted for having helped pioneer the photomural format. Each print with a neatly hand-lettered caption on the leaf to which it is affixed.
Prints fine, morocco lightly rubbed. A desirable portfolio documenting an iconic American retail institution.