NY Historical Society
Between the Civil War and World War I, some of America’s most affluent citizens flaunted their wealth with European-styled chateaux on Fifth Avenue. Yet even among these examples of parvenu showmanship, houses were built, such as the Villard House on Madison Avenue and the Otto Khan mansion, and small specialty museums created, such as the Morgan Library and the Frick Museum, that would bring a new sophistication to both American home design and the New York cultural scene. Out of this era came the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was brilliantly expanded in the 1890s/1900s period to give New York City, its citizens, and its visitors one of the great democratic institutions of culture.
Barry Lewis is an architectural historian who currently teaches at Cooper Union Forum and specializes in European and American architecture from the 18th to 20th centuries.