Mourning Brooklyn-Based Artist Samuel Kaplan Whose Painting Is Newly on Display

The painting shows the Twin Towers as ghostly figures, appearing just as white outlines of the iconic structure.   The ghostly structure is surrounded by colorful and whimsical buildings which are adorned with candles.
Gift of the artist, Samuel Kaplan

The 9/11 Memorial Museum mourns the death of artist and donor Samuel Kaplan, who died at age 93, one day after his painting Requiem rotated into public view in the Education Center/South Tower gallery of the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Born in Azerbaijan, the artist—who lived and worked in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—died on May 21. He will not have the opportunity to see his painted tribute to the Twin Towers, which went on display where the towers once stood just one day earlier

For several years before 9/11, Brooklyn-based artist Samuel Kaplan worked on a painting of Manhattan featuring the Twin Towers. Kaplan wanted to depict the World Trade Center’s colorful neighborhood and add playful elements like a group of musicians and toy astronauts. The artist began sketching the latest version of his painting on the morning of September 11.

After the attacks, Kaplan reimagined the work to reflect his city in mourning. In Requiem, finished in 2004, Kaplan mixes fantasy with details of New York City architecture. The Twin Towers are transparent against the night sky, surrounded by buildings draped with flags and topped with candles. 

In the center of the painting, Kaplan portrays himself flying through the cityscape, holding candles in both hands.  

Kaplan and his wife, Sofia, immigrated to the United States in 1991 during the tail end of the perestroika. Kaplan only stopped making art at age 91 due to the aggravated symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

By 9/11 Memorial Museum Staff

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