The Artists’ Favorite Place

As I posted awhile back, Diana and Murray were married at the home of Murray’s sister Eileen and her husband, Louis Horowitz.

Louis D. Horowitz was born 18 February 1916 in New York City to Max and Sarah (Fink) Horowitz. He was the youngest of three sons.

We know that Lou went to P.S. 20 because the gardener’s cousin still has his father Lou’s autograph book from 28 January 1931.

Max owned a paint store, M. Horowitz & Sons, which eventually Lou and his brother Aaron took over. The store was a NYC institution and known internationally for paint, paint supplies, and gold leaf. Lou sold gold leaf all over the world, for all purposes, including cathedrals and museums. He sold to artists such as Ben Shahn and Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

Lou’s older brother and business partner, Aaron, passed away in 1963. Max had died around 1946 or 1947.

The store was first located at 11 Cooper Square on the Bowery. In the early 70s the city took over the building by eminent domain in order to build a low to middle income housing development. At that point the store was moved to the location that I remember, which was 166 Second Avenue.

Here is Lou inside the 166 Second Avenue store in this very special photo.

I found the following in a copy of Old House Journal from 1979.

Unfortunately, the wrong address in a print journal is not easily corrected. The address of the store was 166 Second Ave., not 166 Seventh Ave.!!!

I have also found the store listed in the back of books as a source for materials, but I was not able to find any actual ads purchased by the family. I suspect that they did not need to advertise.

A few years after the gardener and I were married, the movie Ragtime was being filmed. They wanted Lou’s store, which was situated in the Bowery, to be in the filming. The film makers made some changes to the front of the store to make it look as if it fit the time period of the movie.

The store opened in 1940 and only closed its doors in 1985. However, Lou removed all the remaining merchandise and brought it to his home, where he continued business for another ten years. He passed away on 17 April 1995.

You can imagine that Diana, an artist, loved her brother-in-law’s store. He used to give her beautiful brushes and oil paints for her painting.


22 thoughts on “The Artists’ Favorite Place

  1. Wow, what a cool place! My uncle owned a paint store in the Bronx, but no one famous ever went there! I wonder if he knew about Lou’s family and their store. Great post, Luanne!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s quite a coincidence. I’m sure he did know of the store. It was the place to go to for certain items, and I imagine your uncle referred his customers there for specialty items. Now you’ve reminded me that my grandmother’s family in the Netherlands owned a paint store that we believe is still standing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • What’s funny for me is that we tend to think of grocery store, laundry/dry cleaners, hardware store as being some of the basics, especially of the “old days.” But paint stores in cities (all those signs, for instance, and then the buildings themselves for that kind of paint) and feed store in rural areas were really important, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep. Especially when people painted their own homes. We tried once to paint one small room and almost killed each other. Ever since we’ve hired professionals!

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Seriously. When I was a kid, we used to move when our house needed painting because my dad hated painting. He liked doing all the other stuff: carpentry, concrete, etc., but not painting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post. The autograph book is a fabulous treasure. Amazing with his name actually printed on it. Back then, was it a graduation rite of passage, wondering if everyone was given one or if they were a private parent purchase. I remember having them but they were pretty generic bought at a dime store. Wonderful picture of Lou and the store too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a beautiful autograph book. The printing on the front of it is the same kind of stamping that we used to do at our luggage store with the gold foil that Lou sold at his store. It’s a hot press machine and you stick the foil (comes in colors, not just actual gold, as you can see) between the surface and the metal letters. I wonder about how they got their autograph books, too. My grandmother who was only four years older than Lou also had one. We did not have them at school as we had the yearbooks for autographing, but my mom gave me one when I was about 8 haha.
      Isn’t that photo great? I was so hoping that Lou’s son would have one, and he did :).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In the early mid 70’s I was a student at Cooper Union and got to know Lou quite well because he was the go-to source for gold leafing and related supplies. He primarily sold to the sign painter trade and artists. When he moved to Second Ave. across from St. Marks Church I bought many rolls of paper and dozens of paint brushes. I continued to shop at the new location. Most of the cans of paint you see in the photo are sign paints. The paints you see are mostly One-Shot (yellow cans) and Ronan (blue) staples of the sign trade. He never sold much in the way of house paints, spray paint being the exception. His brother who lived in the area was frequently in the store and stayed there as Lou went out. The brother was quite a character once showing me a glass door to a toaster oven that he found and ask me how to get the name off so that he could make a plaque.
    ( He ask me for some invisible/clear paint to cover the brand name ) I occasionally met Lou later at his Queens home to pickup stuff. I still have his card from Cooper Square and some of the the gold leaf he sold but don’t think I have any of his branded leaf. He is definitely missed and a great example of New York mom + pop stores.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just did a double-take when I saw the address of 166 Second Avenue! I recognized it as the place where my great-great-grandmother, Mollie (Malka) Rosenzweig, died in March 1943, according to her death certificate. At the time, she was living there with her son Joseph (who went by the surname Rosen) and his wife – this is from the 1940 Census. Looks like there were many apartments in this building.

    Liked by 1 person

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