The Wildenstein Institute will include this painting in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Pierre-Auguste Renoir established from the archives of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard, and Wildenstein.
We are grateful to Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville for confirming that this picture is included in their Bernheim-Jeune Archives as an authentic work.
A Life Well Lived: The Ruth and Harvey Kaplan Collection
It was my privilege to know Ruth Kaplan during her lifetime. For me, Ruth and Harvey Kaplan were part and parcel of that great generation of Chicagoans whose lives, both public and personal, defined a generation. They and their circle were civic, cultural and business leaders of a city which their forward thinking helped define. The great Mies follower and society architect Samuel Marx designed and decorated their first home. It was Marx, a board member of both The Art Institute of Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, who helped them to begin to appreciate art; an appreciation which would result, years later, in a very private but world class collection. During this time, they worked with such legendary dealers as Paul Rosenberg, buying Claude Monet's Le bassin de Nymphéas in 1956 for a princely sum of $31,500, Martin Jennings at M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., (Rufino Tamayo's Dicusion Acalorade) and Sam Salz Inc., (Claude Monet's La Grève à Fécamp).
Katherine Kuh, The Art Institute of Chicago's first Curator of Modern Painting and Sculpture, served as a consultant to the Kaplans in 1959-1960. Kuh opened up to them a new and younger group of artists and dealers; Sam Kootz (Giorgio Cavallon's Untitled), Fairweather Hardin Gallery (Philip Guston's The Street, a bold purchase) and Pierre Matisse from who they bought two Giacomettis; the extraordinary Femme Leoni and Portrait de Diego.
They bought pictures from their friend and business acquaintance Leigh Block, acquiring George Rouault's Carlotta. Block, one of Chicago's greatest collectors, legendary collection is on view in Chicago at both the Mary & Leigh Block Museum and The Art Institute of Chicago. Block was in the steel business, as was Harvey Kaplan, the industry which built and sustained Chicago for so many decades.
What is clear in all of their correspondence with dealers, advisors and curators is that they bought above all with their heart, and they gave back to the city which they grew up in and loved. When Ruth passed away, The Art Institute of Chicago was given the wonderful Le bassin de Nymphéas which she and Harvey had always wanted the public to enjoy.
Ruth and Harvey Kaplan were quiet about their collecting. While their Guston was often requested for exhibitions by institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, they rarely wanted to be without their pictures for lengthy periods. It is my pleasure to be able to share with today's collectors a small glimpse of these extraordinary people and the milieu in which they lived.
Chairman's Office, Christie's New York
Property from the Collection of Ruth and Harvey Kaplan