American painter, filmmaker, publisher and actor, Andy Warhol was a major figure in the Pop Art Movement, best known for his famous paintings of American products such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca Cola in the 1960s. Among his best known works are the portraits of Marilyn Monroe. He died in New York in 1987 at the age of 58.
Now, London’s National Portrait Gallery has opened a new exhibit of Warhol's portraits of famous Jewish personalities
The paintings showed in London date from 1980 and display in brilliant color portraits of Jewish personalities from science and psychology (Einstein and Freud) through literature (Kafka and Gertrude Stein), the arts (Gershwin and Sarah Bernhardt).
It also includes the pictures of Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister and Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Warhol referred to the collection as his “Jewish geniuses”. Among the eminent personalities he also decided to place the Marx brothers, Chico, Harpo and Groucho, who added their mischievous and irreverent take on life much as Andy Warhol did himself.
Author of the exhibition catalogue, Paul Moorhouse, calls the paintings a “remarkable achievement”.
“In many ways (they) represent a peak in Warhol’s oeuvre. Magisterial in conception, they advance a new subtlety and sophistication in technical terms,” he comments.
Ten Portraits are on show until 2 July 2006 at London’s National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by an elegant little catalogue.
Reprinted with permission from European Jewish Press