Macy's Stairway, 1940-1941

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Macy’s was Wanda Gág’s favorite store. Instead of showing us sales counters and crowded aisles, however, Gág chose an empty stairwell, a reference to the loneliness and alienation that many artists and writers of the 1920s associated with modern urban life. The print was based on a drawing made in 1929, when Gág had grown disillusioned with the big city. “New York always makes a wreck of me after the first two months or so,” she had written in 1928.

The prominent firehose and ax reflect the Macy’s preoccupation with fire: when this New York store was built in 1902, every floor had its own fire department.

Macy's Stairway
Artist Life
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Z. & J. 102; W.117
Curator Approved

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