PROPERTY FROM THE KOPLAR BROWN FAMILY COLLECTION, LAKE OZARK, MISSOURI "Meet me in the lobby." Harold Koplar, the affable and gregarious proprietor of the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, who was fondly called "HK", said these words often. HK enjoyed holding court in the bustling lobby of his hotel; it was the place where he conducted business meetings, greeted guests and supervised his employees.
The lobby was also where many of HK's favorite objects were displayed including the Louis XV style long case clock by François Linke and the group of bronze statues of Peplophori cast by Chiurazzi after ancient examples (both to be offered in Christie's sale of 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture and Works of Art sale 25 October 2007). Works of art were displayed throughout other public spaces of the hotel as well. A pair of monumental silver pilgrim bottles by Sebastian Garrard (lot 109 in this sale) were displayed in the Gourmet Room Restaurant. HK said that he wanted his guests and employees to enjoy his collection as much as he did.
The works of art displayed in the Chase Park Plaza were later moved to HK's new hotel, The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri. During the 1960s, Koplar purchased 7,300 acres of lake-front land at the Lake of the Ozarks, the nation's largest man-made impoundment which was created by the damming of the Osage River. HK began the development of this new acquisition by building a resort hotel, The Lodge of Four Seasons. In the early 1970s, Koplar's daughter, Susan Koplar Brown, began to oversee the operation of the Lodge and her husband, Peter Brown, headed up the Four Seasons land development company. Today, the Brown's children, Mark, Peter Jr., and David, continue in the family business.
Aside from the Chase Park Plaza and The Lodge of Four Seasons, the Koplar and Brown names are known throughout the Midwest in association with a variety of other past and present business enterprises including KPLR-TV in St. Louis, Resort Air (later TransWorld Express), and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Porto Cima Golf Course. Perhaps more important is the family's legacy of civic involvement and philanthropy. Annually, the Brown family hosts HK's Hospital Benefit Golf Tournament, now in its 29th year, and the Summer Celebration benefiting the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center; both of which have raised millions of dollars for their respective causes.
In offering the following selections from the collection, the Koplar Brown family continues in the tradition that Harold Koplar so enjoyed: the passage of ownership of an object to others who appreciate works of art.