LAURENCE CASPER

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CASPER--Laurence.92, New York, died peacefully surrounded by his family on June 24. Adoring father of Pamela with his first wife Selma, and doting father of Nicole and Hillary with beloved wife Brett of 37 years, proud grandfather of Sebastian and Viola, cherished father-in-law, brother-in-law and uncle. Graduated Boys High in Brooklyn at 16, kicked out of Brooklyn College where he was too engrossed in the library studying his own choice of books, but not before winning the boxing championship! He served proudly in the Army Air Corps in WWII as an officer and bombardier navigator with the B-24 Liberators, received his BA at Kent State under the GI bill. At the NYU Institute of Fine Arts he melded his passion of history and art. His expertise in sculpture, graphics and paintings stretched from Old Masters to contemporary art. Prior to founding Casper Fine Arts & Appraisals, Inc., he joined the Danenberg Galleries and ACA Gallery as Director of Exhibitions and served as President of the Appraisers Association of America. With his insight, intellect and profound understanding of art aesthetics, he initiated fresh interest in the early American modernists: John Marin, Charles Burchfield, Georgia O'Keefe and Joseph Cornell. In '68, he pioneered an exhibition of Norman Rockwell, signaling a shift in the art world's view of him from illustrator of the Saturday Evening Post to fine artist. This pivotal exhibition was shown in ten museums around the country. He remained committed to championing Rockwell's work and was sought for his expert opinion on the artist's paintings and market. His presence on Madison Avenue, in the great auction houses and museums, was highly respected. Ever the teacher, he generously shared his time and knowledge. He cultivated an interest in medicine with such zeal, ordering tests and analyzing results, that doctors often thought he was a doctor himself. His attorney father discouraged him from pursuing law, but he successfully represented his clients in litigation proceedings, advised their attorneys, gave expert testimony in US Tax Court, and most recently represented his wife against the injustices of parking violations. Even in his nineties, he could be found studying Russian and Japanese on tape. A true renaissance man, his overflowing library contains tomes on history, medicine, law, art, Jewish humor, bridge, philosophy, chemistry, astronomy and more. A football, soccer, baseball, golf, wrestling aficionado, he was a men's singles tennis champ, beating men 20 years his junior. He relished being a father, overcome with emotion each time he spoke of his daughters; he wanted for them only what they would want for themselves. His profound generosity, sensitivity, stubbornness, humor, openness, honesty and utmost integrity touched those around him; he was cherished and will be deeply missed by all.

Published in The New York Times on July 6, 2014
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