The Kasper Collection

January 11 through May 8, 2022
Line drawing of seated draped figure reading a book with two nude figures standing behind.

I am not an academic, I am a person with a passion. 


Herbert Kasper (1926–2020), known generally as Kasper, was a major figure of twentieth-century American fashion. After studying at the Parsons School of Design in New York and the École de la chambre syndicale de la couture in Paris, he began creating his own designs in the early 1950s. Like his idol, Coco Chanel, Kasper wanted to dress the modern, active woman. Widely distributed in department stores, Kasper’s clothes typically combine elegance with comfort and affordability. He played an important role in popularizing separates, or garments that can be mixed and matched to create several outfits.

It was while studying in Paris and regularly visiting the Louvre that the twenty-one-year-old Kasper developed an interest in art. His first purchases were modern works, but soon he found himself “falling in love” with a drawing by Baccio Bandinelli, a sculptor from Renaissance Florence. Kasper became fascinated with Italian Mannerism above all, though he also collected drawings and photographs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He gravitated toward pieces made during moments of transition: “I am interested in periods of change, when new styles and forms of expression are emerging.”

This display celebrates Kasper’s bequest to the Morgan of eleven works on paper from his collection.

Perino del Vaga
Italian, 1501–1547
Seated Figure of St. John the Evangelist in a Spandrel, ca. 1538–47
Pen and brown ink
Gift of the Kasper Collection; 2020.50