The Birth of Department Stores. Fashion, design, toys, advertising. 1852-1925.

from 10 April to 13 October 2024

From the Spring through the Autumn of 2024, The Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, will collaborate on a two-part history of the creation of department stores in Paris, beginning in 1852 and lasting until the present day.

Jules Jean Chéret, Poster “Aux Buttes Chaumont”, 1888
Color lithography
© Les Arts Décoratifs / Jean Tholance

The first exhibition, to be held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs from April 10th through October 13th, 2024, examines the rise of department stores within the historical, political, and social context of the Second Empire, exploring the development, golden age, and consecration of these mammoth Magasins at the 1925 International Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts. Beginning with the establishment of Le Bon Marché, Les Magasins du Louvre, Le Printemps, La Samaritaine and Les Galeries Lafayette, the exhibition will convey the importance of this new style of commerce and explain how it gave rise to a female-driven world of consumerism.

The second exhibition, presented at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, from October 16th, 2024, through March 16th, 2025, focuses on the European history of department stores throughout the decades, from the mid-19th century to the present day. This segment depicts the significance of architectural design in the consumer experience while highlighting the prominent exterior facades, grandiose interiors, and staging of merchandise in department stores across France and Europe.

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