• Sharon Ndalilah Nafula

Christie’s to Sell 16 Art Pieces Collected during a Great Partnership and Love Affair

Two weeks from now, on November 11, an auction of Impressionist and modern art will be held at Christie’s in NYC to sell 16 artworks that are part of the collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper.

Auctioned artworks will include pieces by Degas, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, etc. and they are estimated to raise more than 50 million dollars. From this collection, an 1881 Claude Monet work L’escalier à Vétheuil tops the sale with a price tag between 12 million to 18 million dollars. Right behind it is a Picasso, The 1921 Femme Accoudée, tagged at 10 million to 15 million dollars.

How did the Herbert and Adele Klapper collection come about?



Well, not every one of us may believe in Love, but for those who do, and who have much belief for it, Love does exist. Love has different definitions, different depths, different or more reasons for it, as well as for its purposes. Love is more like a force that draws you in a certain direction, with or without your knowledge nor consent. It is something we can try to control but not command or demand. It is when you meet and know someone with whom you click so well for different reasons and get comfortable in your little world. Or it is when you see an item on sale, and by good fortune you buy it and keep it for as long as you can because it is special. That kind of feeling.

But one thing that should matter the most is what binds you together?

Years ago, in Brooklyn two soulmates found each other and what bound them together was their love for Art - a son of a sewing machine salesman and a daughter of European immigrants. Born in the 1920’s Herbert J. Klapper had dreams of pursuing medicine as a career but due to the onset of World War II, his plans did not prove successful. He then met Adele, who became his lifetime partner, right after he returned from the United States Navy, where he was working as a radioman while Adele was working at the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The two then got married.


How was Herbert and Adele’s love life bound by their interest and love for art?

Well, some say that marriage is a legal matter which involves rules, an agreement that mostly in the past involved the payment of a dowry. In the present we witness more of marriage being one of contracts, with married partners having common known reasons such as – children, wealth and riches binding them together. But one fact is, marriage, whether arranged or not, may have little to do with love. The Klappers had a ‘thing’ for art collection. Back in the days, the Klappers encountered prints by Will Barnet, an American painter, that were on sale at a Long Island Gallery. Adele had a certain interest IN obtainING a work by the artist SO she insisted on getting an original piece from the gallery. The couple purchased the work. This was the beginning of the Klapper’s common interest which resulted in an art collection career. Right after that, the couple would go to galleries and auction houses to buy artworks. While working with prominent galleries and auction house specialists, the Klappers acquired important examples of Old Masters, Impressionist and Modern artworks. They focused on the very best by artists such as Picasso, Augusta Rodin, Arp, Monet, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as well as Degas.

The department head at Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's, Max Carter, couldn’t describe the Klappers better than when he said that “they were drawn to quality”. This quality is very visible to see. Art lovers would acknowledge that. “We are honored to offer the collection they built together, which reflects their exquisite taste as much as their abiding love”.

With the passing of Herbert and Adele in 1999 and 2018 respectively, their art collection can be said to have moved the love of Art to a whole new level. This is yet another useful purpose for art, to bind Love together.

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