Henri Bendel

New York, New York, USA

Closed 2019

The Disappointed Tourist: Henri Bendel, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ (61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Henri Bendel was originally a women’s accessories store, founded in 1895. Its luxurious flagship department store was located at 712 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. It is mentioned in Cole Porter’s song “You’re the Top” — “You’re a Bendel Bonnet – a Shakespeare Sonnet.” The building received landmark status from the Landmark Preservation Commission in 1985. In 1918, Henri Bendel announced that it was closing all 23 stores. The owner, L Brands, said the decision was taken to focus on its other brands like Victoria’s Secret. The painting is based on a photograph found on the webpage of the New York chapter of the American Guild of Organists; it doesn’t say who took the photograph.

Since Bendel’s and Lord & Taylor’s flagship store closed, I’ve been seeing a lot of nostalgia for the giant old department stores. Larissa M.