"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Bernard Gimbel


This 1934 caricature of Bernard Gimbal, president of Gimbel's department store, by Peggy Bacon appeared in Bacon's 1934 book Off With Their Heads!

Bacon describes Gimbel this way:

Tall, fit, straight in the pink. Large face with unobtrusive features. Small, kind eyes, mildly interested, aloof and impersonal. No Neck. Head screwed on tight. I Shoulders like a coat-hanger. Looks placid, worth burgher gone sporting. Grand haberdashery with crimson hanky, belt, tie, flower and socks. Stands like a Pharaoh with instinctive dignity.
The hobby horse may refer to the “worthy burgher gone sporting” but it might also refer to Gimbel's wife who was a famous horse-woman.

This profile of Gimbel is taken from a photo in the Library of Congress, and meets Bacon's depiction pretty well.

Here Gimbel is shown in a 1957 AP photo conferring with Jack I. Strauss president and son of the founder of Macy's, thereby answering the rhetorical question “Does Macy's Tell Gimbel's?”

Sometimes Macy's Does Tell Gimbel's -- The New York subway strike is costing retail stores $2 million a day and Bernard Gimbel (left), president of the Thirty-fourth street store, listens as Jack I. Strauss, president of Macy's, tells about the bad Christmas outlook for the Merchants. -- AP Wirephoto.

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