Nearly three decades ago, pop artist Andy Warhol premiered “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century,” an exhibition met with both appreciation and strong criticism.
This year, two prominent Jewish museums will host “Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered,” featuring the original 10 portraits alongside photographs of the subjects, sketches and the preliminary list of nearly 100 “famous Jews” prepared by the artist’s dealer.
Warhol never specifically divulged how he selected his subjects, all of whom he’d never met. The most he ever explained to a reporter was that he “liked the faces.” The original series, commissioned by gallery owner Ronald Feldman and Israeli art dealer Alexander Harari, features portraits of actress Sarah Bernhardt, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, the Marx Brothers, novelist Franz Kafka and others.
The exhibition will be on display at The Jewish Museum in New York City through Aug. 3, and will travel to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco Oct. 12-Jan. 25, 2009.