FSU Foundation

The Ringling Receives Significant Gift from Stanton and Nancy Kaplan

Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan in room full of art pieces

Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan

Sarasota, Florida—The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is thrilled to announce a significant gift from Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan. The Kaplan’s gift includes a major photography collection, scholars rock collection and funds to endow both a curatorial position in photography and the Photography and Media Arts Program of The Ringling.

The Kaplan’s contribution includes more than a thousand photographs by over 30 prominent artists including Eugène Atget, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and many additional photographers, as well as a fascinating collection of Asian Scholars’ Rocks.

Steven High, the Ringling’s Executive Director said, “We are very grateful for this generous gift. The Kaplans have a long history with the museum of volunteerism and financial support and we are honored to receive this significant gift of art and funding that will enable us to share their diverse collections with the Sarasota community. The endowments of a curatorship and a program focused on photography and the media arts is an especially important commitment by the Kaplans to support The Ringling’s growing collections and scholarship in this medium. In addition, the gift will allow us to expand our educational outreach through supporting publications and developing exhibitions drawn from the Kaplan collection.”

Christopher Jones, the first Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan Curator of Photography and Media Arts is excited about the opportunities that this generous gift will provide for the Museum. “The impact of the Kaplan’s gift on The Ringling cannot be understated. Stan has created an outstanding collection of images by some of the most important artists in the history of photography. Gifting these works as part of their legacy elevated our collections and allows us to offer so many new perspectives and stories to our community for generations to come.”

Mr. Kaplan became involved with The Ringling as a volunteer in the 1990s. His interest in collecting photographs was ignited at age 10 when he built his own dark room, followed by his first foray into collecting with the purchase of a photograph by Ansel Adams about 30 years ago. His connoisseurship developed as he expanded his collection that includes many 20th century masters.

Nancy Kaplan is a collector of Asian Scholars’ Rocks. The rocks, also known as Gongshi, are naturally occurring or shaped rocks that are traditionally appreciated by Chinese scholars. The Kaplans donated a large Limestone Scholars’ Rock to the museum in 2001. Their latest gift will become part of The Ringling’s Asian art collection.

Over 40 of the Kaplans’ photographs gifted to the museum by famed Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo will be on exhibition from Dec. 8, 2019- March 1, 2020. Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables can be seen in The Ringling’s Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing.

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About The Ringling The Ringling is a pre-eminent center for the arts, history and learning that is dedicated to bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. From its inception, The Ringling has joined the diverse visual traditions and theatrical spectacle of yesterday with the genre-defying global practitioners of the present. A place of exploration, discovery and respite, The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida—which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, an historic mansion, an 18th-century theater and bayfront gardens—is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling fulfills an important educational mission. The Ringling offers formal and informal programs of study serving as a major resource for students, scholars, and lifelong learners of every age within the region, across the country and around the world.

Media Contacts:

The Ringling
Virginia Harshman,
Public relations specialist
941-359-5700 x2803