Painter, printmaker, and illustrator Jerome Eugene Kaplan was born in Philadelphia. He attended Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and studied independently with artists Benton Spruance and Paul Froelich.
Kaplan's work was exhibited internationally at institutions including The Print Center and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Modern Art, New York City; American Color Print Society, Jenkintown, PA; Seattle Art Museum; and Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
His work can be found in museum collections both nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and The British Museum, London. Among the books he illustrated are The Ballad of the Spanish Civil Guard (1964); The Bucket Rider (1972); From a Housewife's Diary (1978); and Charlie in the House of Rue (1980).
Kaplan served as the department chair and professor of the Printmaking Department at University of the Arts. He was an active member of The Print Center of Philadelphia; Society of American Graphic Artists, New York City; and Artists Equity.
Kaplan's Portfolio of White House Etchings was presented to President Jimmy Carter. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961; a Tamarind Lithography Workshop scholarship, 1962; Mettie Marie Jones Visual Arts Fellowship, 1983; and the Richard Florsheim Art Fund Grant, 1993.
Faced with organizing Kaplan's work after he died in 1997, his wife, Anne, worked toward establishing the Senior Artists Initiative in 1998, a Philadelphia-based organization that educates senior artists about the management and preservation of their estate and their artistic legacy.