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ART DECO - KAUFMANN, Charles D. & Herman Fabry.

A Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago 1933-1934 presents this Collection of Official Photographs to Orville J. Taylor.

Chicago, IL.: Century of Progress International Exposition Committee, [Kaufman-Fabry Photographers], 1933 Stock Code: 134251
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"by far the most beautiful" souvenir of the Century of Progress Exposition

First and only edition of this spectacular, highly limited-issue souvenir album for the Century of Progress exposition, an event which was to have a profound influence on modernist architects for decades to come, and served more generally as an invaluable "repository" of Art Deco motifs. A small number of these presentation albums were created as gifts for the Board of Trustees, Officers, and Founder Members for the Exposition by the official photographers.

World Cat. records only 15 copies at 12 locations, all but a couple with identifiable recipients; just a handful of copies at auction. This copy from the library of Orville J. Taylor (1885-1969), noted Chicago Attorney, Century of Progress Trustee, World War I veteran who served as Major with the 86th Division of the A.E.F., but unfortunately is also remembered as the author of the whitewash "Taylor Report" on the black market activities of US personnel after World War II.

The remarkable images include the spectacular Grand Fountain at night; aerial views across the grounds by night and day; the facade of the Paul Philippe Cret-designed Hall of Science, which typifies the linear, geometric Art Deco style of the Fair, together with an image of the interior of the Great Hall, where smartly dressed crowds scurry past wall text announcing Planck's Quantum and Einstein's Relativity theories; the Electrical Building with a shot of the circular court the central Electrical Fountain with its chromed canopy reflecting the iridescent jets of water playing below; the stunning Transportation Building at night with its sunrise façade brightly illuminated from within, and by day showing the cables from which the domed roof was "flown"; a night time view of the lowering Adler Planetarium which contained the only Zeiss projector in America at the time; a selection of views of the national "villages" - Black Forest, Belgian, English, Colonial, Italian, and the Streets of Shanghai - and a shot of Italo Balbo's squadron of Savoia-Marchetti SM 55X flying boats overflying Lake Michigan.

Founded around 1910 by Charles D. Kaufmann (1888-1948), a Bohemian-American, and Herman Fabry (c.1879-1955) German-American, Kaufmann & Fabry was a Chicagoan commercial photographic studio specialising in architectural photography. The firm is perhaps best remembered for its work recorded here, as official photographers to the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair. They were not only awarded the rights for publishing and distributing photographs, and for the publication of photo illustrations, they also operated a highly lucrative camera shop and film processing lab on the Exhibition grounds for the duration of the Exposition. "Surprisingly little has been written about Kaufmann & Fabry - either the business or the men themselves. They claimed to have the most thoroughly equipped photographic plant in America. We are lucky in the next century to have this splendid sample of their artistry and a magnificent souvenir of the Century of Progress of the thousands of printed books and souvenirs produced around the fair, Kaufmann & Fabry's album of photographs is by far the most beautiful" (Chicago by the Book, p.127).

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Folio (347 x 295 mm), original full blue-grey morocco by Arthur Hertzberg, gilt ruling and Art Deco lettering including the recipient's name on front cover and spine, blue moiré silk endsheets.


52 unnumbered leaves mounted on white linen hinges, the first with a silver gelatin photo title, the recipient's name added calligraphically, followed by 51 warm sepia-toned original silver prints (278 x 203 mm) each captioned in pencil in an attractive


A touch rubbed, front hinge starting toward the head, but remains a excellent exemplar.


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