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Atelier EXB : Samaritaine – A photographic adventure


This volume completes a trilogy which shows how, from the beginning, photography has accompanied the development of the Samaritaine. It allows us to bring back a significant part of the archives to life and to follow certain developments in documentary photography between the end of the 19th century and the 1930s. And it highlights the combination of an architectural – and commercial – project of scope with the search for beauty on the part of its operators who had the different moments and evolutions freezed.
Christian Caujolle, extract from the book

Through an incredible photographic archive made up of precious albums and more than a thousand images, this work takes us back in time to the construction of the Samaritaine building in 1870 – an emblem of modernity at the time with its subtle mix of Art Deco and Art Nouveau – until its reopening in 2021. A flagship building in Paris, located on the banks of the Seine, its successive metamorphoses and expansions are presented in the book, punctuated by notebooks printed on colorful papers which immerse the reader in the lives of the women and men, workers and employees, who worked in this store with a unique history. This work recounts both the architectural project but also the human adventure that took place there for a century and a half.

Memories and modernities

Founded in 1870 by Ernest Cognacq, the Samaritaine is an emblematic building in the heart of Paris, belonging to the geography but also to the collective imagination of the French capital. To preserve the memory of the work and the pharaonic expansions of the various stores that make up this architectural and commercial complex, a huge photographic archive kept by La Samaritaine constitutes an incredible testimony to this heritage of the city.

Witness to the ambition of architects Frantz Jourdain and Henri Sauvage, the photographic albums reproduced in the book, often made by the builders themselves, trace the history of this department store from the end of the 19th century to the 1930s. The images attest to the use of photography throughout the 20th century as a means of highlighting technical progress as well as architectural innovations which participated in the aesthetic revolution of one of the historical districts.


Collection Samaritaine
Alice Thomine-Berrada Martine Bartolomei Christian Caujolle
Atelier EXB
Bilingual French-English
22.5 x 27 cm
184 pages
210 B&W and color photographs
ISBN: 978-2-36511-372-4
Price: €45 including tax


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