As fine art specialists, we are uniquely attracted to our corner of the art world, a combination of our love of the objects and the fast-pace of the auction calendar. We are also, secretly, aspiring archaeologists: in every consignment, each of us hopes for a wonderful discovery of something rare, something treasured, something loved; its potential market value becomes almost secondary to the sentimental value behind it. Each of us has a story or two about a thrilling find, a trove of magnificent things, unexpectedly uncovered. The Collection of Jeffrey M. Kaplan has become one of those stories for us.
Custodian and Collector
The vast collection of mostly prints and works on paper filled two apartments, floor to ceiling, in carefully organized shelves; each work framed in archival materials, catalogued by a curator and lovingly categorized. It was clear from the moment we walked in that Jeffrey Kaplan was a passionate collector, one who collected within categories that spoke to him, across the globe, over many centuries, and often without apparent regard for value.
Preserving the Past
Not only did Mr. Kaplan protect and store his collection with diligence and care, but (and what a delight for us to discover) there were three boxes of his invoices, gallery exhibition brochures, and correspondence with dealers and advisors. Mr. Kaplan saved all of the paperwork relating to the items he purchased, many of which illustrate the long term relationships and, undoubtedly, friendships he cultivated through their shared appreciation of these objects.
“Mr. Kaplan understood the unique importance of provenance in telling the story or history of an object.”
After three days of sorting out the paperwork, we came to realize that Mr. Kaplan painstakingly saved these documents because he appreciated that the history of an object is an integral part of it, and should be retained and passed forward to (and would indeed be valued by) its future owners beyond his lifetime. Therefore, the provenance of the vast majority of these works is intact. Original invoices, where available, will be sold with the objects.
It has been Freeman’s unique pleasure to work on a collection that has been so well cared for, so well documented, and exhibiting such diverse academic curiosity and passion. We look forward to finding new homes for these special objects, at the April 6 sale of The Jeffrey M. Kaplan Collection.
To be offered 04/06/17: Charles Ephraim Burchfield (American 1893-1967) "March Pools At Twilight (detail);” Cyril Power (British 1872-1951) "Concerto”