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Searching for Ladislas/Ladislav/Ladislaw Kaplan violins for a research project


Gary M
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I recently rescued a violin from the box by the door of the music school where I take lessons. I took it to a good luthier, had it repaired and it is now quite a nice instrument and in daily use. It is labeled Ladislas Kaplan, New York and dated 1902.

When I posted a celebratory note on the "Pegbox" portion on this site quite a lengthy discussion broke out about American makers possibly relabeling German violins and well... if you want the whole story go over to the Pegbox section and look it up. All of this has led me to want to know much more about this instrument, Mr. Ladislav Kaplan and his violins, violas and cellos.

It occurs to me that many or most of you do not frequent the Pegbox portion of this site so I am posting this here.

Please, please please this is not a place to continue the Pegbox discussion, American violins or anything else. I only want to ask anyone who owns, or knows of, a violin labeled Ladislas Kaplan to please let me know here or by Maestronet message and I will get back to you privately as soon as I can. So far I have identified 4 of his estimated 100+ instruments plus 3 auction records. The labels of his earlier instruments look like the attached photo.

Thank you in advance.

Gary M

 

Kaplan label top.jpg

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Henley's "Universal Dictionary of Violin & Bow Makers" lists a "Ladislav Kaplan" of New York (and later Norwalk, Conn, 1929) with praise for workmanship.

The few Auction prices for Kaplan have not been high, but I have violins by makers (one American and the other, Spanish, also listed in Henley) with similar auction results that I consider quite excellent, having played on them at my luthier's (picking them up after long delayed adjustments had been made) at the same time I played a 1698 Antonio Stradivari and an Andrea. Guarneri in the same room.

Henley (1960 edition) also says Kaplan was the head of the Kaplan String Co. Brompton's book (which I do not have) might have more info - perhaps you can find a luthier, library or shop that has a copy.

 

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I wouldn’t take much notice of Henley, which is mostly just cribbed from Lütgendorff, with the odd (often pretty racist) arbitrary brass knob added, where he describes tons of stuff he had surely never seen in his life. The Brompton/Dillworth volume was also disappointing, sinIce one can mostly see where he copied from. I was wondering if I should tell the OP that I have 6 Kaplan G strings

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You'll get a few replies over many years here.

If you're really curious, you should probably contact a professional researcher or visit a librarian in New York who can advise you.

What you're looking for is a needle in a haystack.

(His obituary made the New York Times in September 1962)

(His company was acquired by D'Addario in 1982, their Kaplan Rosin and strings are named after him)

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3 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

You'll get a few replies over many years here.

If you're really curious, you should probably contact a professional researcher or visit a librarian in New York who can advise you.

What you're looking for is a needle in a haystack.

Thank you. I have a number of threads processing right now. This is just one of them. Sometimes you just get lucky in an obvious place.

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