A Toast to Daile Kaplan, Swann’s Doyenne Emerita

Daile Kaplan, Swann Vice President & Director at Swann for 30 Years

A Note from Nicholas D. Lowry:

June 26, 2020

In 1990 Germany was reunified, the Hubble Space telescope was launched, and it was the year I graduated from college. That year, thirteen paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and others, and a few months later Van Gogh’s portrait of Doctor Gachet sold at auction for $82.5 million, making it the most expensive painting in the world. It was also the year that Daile Kaplan began working at Swann Galleries.

At the end of this month Daile will be stepping away from her role as Vice President and head of Swann’s Photographs & Photobooks Department. She is not retiring. She is entering the next phase of her life where she has more time to pursue personal ambitions.

To say that she has had an impact would be to understate Daile’s standing within the photo world. Over the years Daile has helped transform the vintage photography auction market. Among the innovations she has brought to the industry was the introduction of photobooks to the auction canon, and transforming vernacular photography from a pastime into an international collecting pursuit.

She has spoken about photography around the world, written countless articles, and is visible far beyond the community of photo enthusiasts due to regular, engaging appearances on the PBS television series Antiques Roadshow.

Daile’s work as a mentor within the photo market can best be exemplified by many of her former staffers who have gone on to populate the photography departments of other auction houses around America.

It would be an understatement to say that this is a bittersweet announcement. It is hard to think that someone who I have known for longer than the duration of my professional career will no longer be right down the hall, with her expertise, knowledge, charm, kindness and humor. Daile is very much part of the fabric and identity of this company.

What is making this change easier for all of us is that Deborah Rogal, who has worked alongside Daile for 15 years, will be taking over leadership of our Photography Department. You will be hearing a whole lot more about Deborah in the coming weeks, but for now I would ask that you join me and the whole Swann family in saying thank you to Daile. Thank you for being a colleague nonpareil: A specialist, mentor, appraiser, collector, auctioneer, enthusiast and friend.



Nicholas D. Lowry
President & Principal Auctioneer