I recently made a post about the sculptor Jules Dalou (see here). I neglected to mention one of his works which can be found on the façade of a building in the 18th arrondissement.
Started in 1856, the “Grands Magasins Dufayel”, increased in size over the years and was, when complete in 1913, considered to be the world’s largest department store, specialized in furniture and house equipment. There were some 15 000 employees. “Dufayel” seems to have been the first to offer organized credit to customers. (A staff of 800 employees visited then people to get the weekly installments.) The stores were situated in a working class area and the clientele was not only “bourgoise” as was rather the case with the other newly started department stores. “Dufayel” closed in 1930 and was later taken over by a bank, with a transformation (demolition) of the interior. In the 1990’s large parts of the buildings were further transformed, rebuilt to apartments.
Some pictures “stolen” on the net show what the interiors once looked like. They included a concert hall, a theatre, a cinema…
The main entrance, decorated by Jules Dalou stood ready in 1895. His works represent “Le Progrès entrainant l’industrie et le commerce” (Progress drawing along industry and commerce). The dome on the top, which also was some kind of lighthouse, disappeared in 1957.
This is what you today can see of the partly tranformed buildings. ("Virgin", recently closed, had an outlet here.)