In Memory of Leo Kaplan

Leo Kaplan
(October 30, 1917 – August 21, 2013)

We are saddened to report the passing of Museum Fellow and donor Leo Kaplan.  Leo was the world’s leading authority on fine antique French and American paperweights.  He and his wife Ruth began selling paperweights in 1966. In 1969, they opened Leo Kaplan Ltd, a gallery in New York City that specializes in ceramics, glass and paperweights. In 2002, they opened Leo Kaplan Modern, which represents modern works in glass.

Gingham Paperweight

Gingham Paperweight, about 1845-1855. Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint Louis, Saint-Louis France. Collection of The Corning Museum of Glass (95.3.62).

Kaplan became a Fellow of the Corning Museum in 1987. The Museum’s Fellows are the world’s leading experts, collectors and dealers in glass. Leo was a great friend to the Museum for many years.  Many of the Museum’s paperweights were purchased through his gallery, including the rare Gingham paperweight. The Kaplans also donated several important paperweights to the Museum’s collection.

Paul Stankard,  Museum Fellow and a renowned paperweight artist, remembers Leo:

“Leo was a gentle man.  In 1975, when I was a young paperweight maker, Leo’s interest in my work marked a major turning point in my career. His kind mentoring and time spent sharing the nuances of exceptional paperweights from his inventory inspired me to seek excellence.  In addition Leo’s knowledge as a dealer and consultant to major museums and private collectors facilitated extraordinary glass collections both public and private.”

Says Karol Wight, executive director of the Museum, “Leo will be greatly missed by the glass community and by his friends at the Museum.  He was both a gentleman and a scholar, and we valued greatly our relationship with him.”