Perhaps no American symbol is more widely recognized or powerfully expressive than "Liberty Enlightening the World"—the Statue of Liberty. Since 1885, when the 151-foot original created by the French sculptor Freédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (1834–1904) was erected on Bedloe's Island, the colossal figure has inspired numerous smaller-scale replicas intended to echo the ideals of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity that it embodied for many of the immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. This thirty-foot replica was commissioned about 1900 by the Russian-born auctioneer William H. Flattau to sit atop his eight-story Liberty Warehouse (at 43 West 64th Street), then one of the highest points on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Flattau thus combined his entrepreneurial spirit with pride in the adopted country in which he had prospered. Although squatter in proportion and less gracefully detailed than the massive original, Flattau's replica retained something of the forceful gravity of expression achieved by Bartholdi.
Newly restored, this "little" Lady Liberty takes its place within the distinguished collection of outdoor sculpture and architectural fragments that the Brooklyn Museum began about 1960, in an effort to preserve unique New York City treasures that were increasingly at risk.