Object Timeline

-0001

1922

  • Work on this object began.

1933

  • Work on this object ended.

1975

  • We acquired this object.

2015

2016

2017

2021

  • You found it!

Drawing, Design for Window Display, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Donald Deskey and drafted by Donald Deskey and made for (as the client) Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. It is dated 1927–28 and we acquired it in 1975. Its medium is brush and silver paint, watercolor, pastel, graphite on off-white illustration board, ruled borders in graphite . It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

In 1927, the president of Saks Fifth Avenue commissioned Deskey to create window displays to rejuvenate the store’s image. Embracing strong vertical and geometric elements in contrasting colors, this design creates a lively backdrop for high fashion, employing new industrial materials such as cork, corrugated galvanized iron, copper, and brass. These window displays reached everyday consumers and introduced them to the natural beauty of industrial materials as aspects of a luxurious American style.

This object was donated by Donald Deskey. It is credited Gift of Donald Deskey.

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Screen
  • silver leaf, lacquered wood, cast metal (hinges).
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2018-22-29

Its dimensions are

H x W: 38.1 × 50.7 cm (15 in. × 19 15/16 in.) H x W (Mat): 40.6 × 55.9 cm (16 × 22 in.)

It is signed

Signed in graphite, lower right: DESIGN BY DESKEY

It is inscribed

Inscribed in graphite, lower left: SKETCH / FOR A WINDOW / GALVANIZED IRON / COPPER & BRASS / CORK FLOORING / NICKLE [sic] VALANCE; in graphite, lower left: FOR / SAKS FIFTH AVENUE / NEW YORK / DESIGN BY DESKEY; in graphite, upper right: BACKGROUND SUGGESTION; in graphite, lower right: PLAN ALTERNATIVE; in graphite on verso: calculations; in graphite on verso, lower right: using industrial materials

Cite this object as

Drawing, Design for Window Display, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY; Designed by Donald Deskey (American, 1894–1989); USA; brush and silver paint, watercolor, pastel, graphite on off-white illustration board, ruled borders in graphite ; H x W: 38.1 × 50.7 cm (15 in. × 19 15/16 in.) H x W (Mat): 40.6 × 55.9 cm (16 × 22 in.); Gift of Donald Deskey; 1975-11-65

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18487213/ |title=Drawing, Design for Window Display, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 December 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>