144 Fifth Avenue

A survivor from the Avenue’s earliest period, the altered 1851 townhouse at 144 Fifth Avenue preserves original details at its upper floors. A fire escape (rare for Fifth Avenue) bisects the façade and partially obscures the wonderful Aesthetic Movement cast iron panels between the third floor windows that give the building’s full address.

The architect of the renovation and the designer of the panels are unknown: the renovation itself was evidently completed in the 1870s when 144 Fifth Avenue became the location of Cottier & Co., an interior decorating firm and art gallery noted for its importation of Old Masters and French paintings for the US market, particularly Corot and Rembrandt.

Given that Cottier & Co. was also highly influential in introducing the Aesthetic Movement to New York City, it is likely that the cast iron panels are due to the gallery’s presence. Whatever their provenance, they are a remarkable and unique example of the style.

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