CHICAGO COUPLE ACQUIRED EXQUISITE, DIVERSE PIECES AS THEY TRAVELED THE WORLD
Featuring the Collection of Elaine and Perry Snyderman
● DESIGN SIGNATURE® AUCTION 8003
April 20, 2020 I HA.com/8003a
● PRINTS & MULTIPLES SIGNATURE® AUCTION 8004
April 21, 2020 I HA.com/8004a
● AMERICAN ART SIGNATURE® AUCTION 8007
July 1, 2020 I HA.com/8007a
● MODERN & CONTEMPORARY ART SIGNATURE® AUCTION 8010
June 18, 2020 I HA.com/8010a
● EUROPEAN ART SIGNATURE® AUCTION 8011
May 29, 2020 I HA.com/8011a
● FINE & DECORATIVE ARTS MONTHLY ONLINE AUCTION 3156
June 11, 2020 I HA.com/13156a
Elaine and Perry Snyderman traveled together and collected together.
The Snydermans grew up on the south side of Chicago, where they met in their high school French class. She was the daughter of a grocer and he the son of store clerks. She was the child and he the grandchild of Jewish immigrants.
As a couple, they combined her shy scholarship and artistic temperament with his social acumen and sense of adventure, says daughter Michelle Snyderman Platt. Perry became a lawyer, a businessman and a cowboy, and Elaine a writer, sculptor and teacher. Both evolved into lifelong students and mentors, philanthropists and world travelers. “On their journeys, they were as likely to fall in love with the work of a previously unknown Inuit or South African artist as they were of a Louise Nevelson or Karel Appel,” says Platt.
Important pieces from the Collection of Elaine and Perry Snyderman are being offered in several of Heritage’s upcoming auctions, including Modern & Contemporary Art, and European Art auctions. “The Snyderman collection is truly fascinating and unique because Elaine and Perry didn’t narrow themselves to collect just one artist, one movement, one style or one medium,” says Hettig Frank, vice president of Modern & Contemporary Art at Heritage Auctions. “They trusted their eyes and selected diversity. These auctions present a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire exquisite pieces with extraordinary provenance.”
On one of their travels, Elaine found herself smitten with a drawing by Jules Pascin, an artist completely unfamiliar to her before that day. Caught up in her enthusiasm, Perry purchased the piece and set in motion their 10-year investigation of this mysterious painter. Together, they sought out Pascin’s cohorts, walked the streets and dined in cafes he had frequented in New York, London and Paris. Elaine brushed up on her French to study his original correspondence. Her research also led her to his wife Hermine David, a sought-after illustrator in her own right, as well as Lucy Krohg, his model and lover.
Elaine and Perry were able to acquire several additional pieces by both Pascin and David, including one more of Lucy. These treasures found a welcoming home with the Snydermans, along with art by Picasso, Modigliani, Chagall and Le Sidaner, as well as Elaine’s own sculptures.
While each of the artists who contributed to Elaine and Perry’s collection inspired them, Pascin’s role in their life was unique, says Platt. Perhaps the charcoal sketch of Lucy reminded Elaine of her once beautiful and theatrical mother, who struggled with mental illness. Perhaps the photo of Pascin with a cigarette reminded her of her father in a similar pose. While the exact nature of the attraction remains a mystery to those who knew her best, Elaine’s drive to understand the trajectory of Pascin’s life sustained her through the illness that would eventually take her own.
Although Perry was not able to arrange the movie deal they’d envisioned about Pascin, he succeeded in having Elaine’s book published in 2004, Pascin and the Demons of Chance, a Novel About a Great Artist and His Strange Hold on Two Women.
The couple’s legacy lives on beyond books.
“When our son was about 9 years old, we had what at the time felt like a racy adventure in the middle of the school week,” Platt says. “We freed him from Hebrew school early, jumped in the car and drove for 1½ hours from Wisconsin to Temple Sholom in Chicago to hear the mandolin player David Grisman with his band. The first image we saw as we entered the synagogue was a stained-glass version of Karel Apple’s King David series. Recalling the moment over 20 years later, our son said, ‘I remember being stunned because I thought that Poppy and E’s painting had come to the temple!’
“Our daring escapade for music that evening took on an extra mystique,” Platt says. “Appel is now linked in our memories to mandolins and spontaneity, stepping out into the night, and our son’s sense of his grandparents’ magical reach.”
This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.