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Robert Klapper, MD

Dr. Robert Klapper has never spent time on a battlefront, but he considers caring for injured troops here at home an indirect way to serve his country. “It allows me to feel like I am vicariously participating,” says Dr. Klapper, director of the Cedars-Sinai Institute for Joint Replacement in Los Angeles. He is continually impressed by the sacrifices made by soldiers, such as his father, who served with the 1st Infantry Division in World War II. “The humility and quiet courage present in my patients is what humbles me,” he says.

Memorial to WWII Veteran Abraham Klapper, My Father: The Spirit Coming to Life

53 x 15 x 9 in.

Carrara Marble

Dr. Klapper began carving in stone after visiting Michelangelo’s birthplace and studio in Italy. Inspired by the artist’s gift for transforming stone into emotion, Dr. Klapper has attempted to do the same, using sculpture to capture his own father’s harrowing experiences at war. “His stories about the time he spent behind enemy lines in Germany were filled with examples of being next to, or speaking with his fellow comrades, and turning to continue the conversation after the shelling stopped and their body was there, but they were no longer. He was perplexed at what left them — their spirit, their embodiment of life was no longer present, yet the physical uniform was there,” Dr. Klapper says. The carvings represent the fragility of life. “The unfinished rock transitioning into the highly polished stone is a metaphor for the spirit coming to life versus coming to death,” he says.


Memorial to WWII Veteran Abraham Klapper, My Father: The Spirit Coming to Death

46 x 13 x 20 in.

Carrara Marble