Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered

March 16 - August 3, 2008

This exhibition of Andy Warhol’s ten “Jewish genius” paintings from 1980, presented 28 years after their initial showing at the Jewish Museum, depicts renowned luminaries of Jewish culture: Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Golda Meir, and Gertrude Stein. Warhol’s iconic portraits attest to the lasting achievements and fame of these singular figures.

Andy Warhol’s Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century (1980) depict renowned luminaries of Jewish culture: Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Golda Meir, and Gertrude Stein. Warhol referred to this pantheon of great thinkers, politicians, performers, and writers as his “Jewish geniuses.” Warhol’s iconic portraits attest to the lasting achievements and fame of these singular figures. Originally published as a portfolio of silkscreen prints on paper, Warhol was so pleased with the commercial success of his Ten Portraits that he decided to create additional versions of the series as silkscreen paintings on canvas. The Jewish Museum initially showed three sets of paintings and an edition of prints in the fall of 1980. On view in this exhibition are one of the five complete sets of ten paintings, an edition of the final print portfolio, several sketches, a preparatory collage, and the photographs that Warhol used as source images, offering new insights into their development and historical context.

Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered online exhibition text is excerpted in part from the catalogue, Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered, by Richard Meyer, with contributions by Gabriel de Guzman.

Organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, with additional support from the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art.