Christie’s is set to offer 20 artworks from the collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper in November and December. Medical student turned entrepreneur, Herbert Klapper was born in Brooklyn to a sewing machine salesman in 1926. When World War II hit, he was forced to end his studies in medicine to enlist in the United States Navy. After the war, he began working at the sewing machine company with his father in Manhattan. Eventually, he would take over the business and transform it into Superior Sewing Machine and Supply Corporation.
Adele was born in Brooklyn as well, just three years after her future husband. Working at the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, she met Herbert by happenstance. The pair’s 50-year marriage saw the curation of an extensive art collection of Old Masters and Impressionists works including artists such as Rodin, Monet, Picasso, and Renoir. However, earlier this year Adele sadly passed away following the1999 passing of Herbert.
The couple’s collection began when they encountered prints by American painter Will Barnet in a Long Island gallery. After this, Adele bought an original canvas by the artist. In a statement by Christie’s announcing the forthcoming sales, Max Carter, Head of Department, Impressionist and Modern Art, stated:
‘The Klappers were drawn to quality, whether in the masterly detail of Brueghel the Younger’s Netherlandish Proverbs; the rich play of color and light in Monet’s L’escalier à Vétheuil, the last from the series remaining in private hands; or the remarkable modeling of Picasso’s grand neoclassical pastel, Femme accoudée, the best work of its kind to appear at auction in decades. We are honored to offer the collection they built together, which reflects their exquisite taste as much as their abiding love.’
Christie’s predicts that the works from the Klapper’s collection, which are being offered without guarantees, will bring in upwards of $50 million. Claude Monet’s L’escalier à Vétheuil (1881) will lead the collection as it is set to sale for $12-18 million. The Klapper’s L’escalier à Vétheuil has an exciting provenance, as well, having once been owned by Alexander Cassatt, the brother of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, and is the last in a series of four that remains in private hands.
Closely following, though, will be Picasso’s Femme accoudée (1921) and Buste de femme au voile bleu (1924), and Henri de Toulouse-Lartrec’s 1896 Sanseuse. These works are expected to go for $10-15 million, $8-12 million, and $6-8 million, respectively, in Chritisie’s 11 November Impressionist and Modern evening sale in New York.
Later, on 20 November, the American day sale at Christie’s will boast William Barnett’s Aurora (1977) and Circe (1978), two paintings from the artist’s series of family portraits. The pair will range from $60,000 to $120,000. Finally, on 6 December, Christie’s Old Masters evening sale in London will showcase oil works by Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel including The Netherlandish Proverbs (estimated at £3.5-5.5 million) and Battle between Carnival and Lent (estimated at £3.5-5.5 million).