Andy Warhol - Editions & Works on Paper New York Monday, October 24, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Andy Warhol’s Ten Portraits of Jews of The Twentieth Century highlights 10 esteemed members of the global Jewish community who triumphed in their respective fields of science, politics, theater, and the arts. The prints are based on a series of paintings commissioned by art dealer Ronald Feldman with the intention that the poster-sized portraits be exhibited at The Jewish Museum in New York, upon completion. Warhol personally referred to this set of portraits as his “Ten Jewish Geniuses”.i When selecting the subjects for the series, Warhol insisted they commemorate the deceased. This gave him the opportunity to pay tribute to a group of people that helped further a variety of fields and paved the way for future Jewish changemakers. 

    Franz Kafka, born in 1883 in Czechia, is most commonly remembered for his novels The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle. Kafka’s novels tell tales of isolation and the fantastical, while balancing themes of realism and the surreal. Many works by Kafka were finished and published posthumously by his estate-executor Max Brod, a violation of Kafka’s requests to keep his works unpublished.ii But, Max Brod believed Kafka to be a modern-day Goethe and Tolstoy, insisting that his works be seen.


           Franz Kafka                                           Getrude Stein 


    Gertrude Stein, an American author, moved to Paris in 1903 and spent most of her life there until her death in 1946. While in Paris, she made a name for herself by hosting weekly literary salons, and soon emerged as a fixture of the Parisian artistic community. Stein befriended and became a patron of Pablo Picasso, who later painted her portrait during his Rose Period. Her most well-known literary accomplishment, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, is a detailed history of her life partner. It is simultaneously a loving testament to her lover while telling stories of the early 20th century Paris art scene. Along with her brother Leo Stein, Gertrude was an avid art collector, including her acquisition of works by 19th and 20th century masters Matisse, Cezanne, Gris and Picabia.

    Martin Buber was an Austrian philosopher most notable for his writings and dialogue addressing human existence and the antithesis between good and evil. Buber’s existentialist writings and teachings earned him 10 Nobel Prize in Literature nominations and seven Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Amidst the rise in Anti-Semitism in the 1930s, Buber became a leader in Jewish education, founding the Central Office for Jewish Adult Education and later becoming a professor at Hebrew University.


                        Martin Buber                                          Albert Einstein                   

    Albert Einstein, widely recognized as the greatest physicist and scientist of all time, made tremendous scientific advancements with his Theory of Relativity in the early 20th century. He published papers on quantum mechanics and proposed the principle of mass–energy equivalence (E=mc^2). In addition to his scientific achievements, Einstein also played a major role in the protection and emigration of Jewish scientists to British universities during World War II. 

    Louis Brandeis is one of the most well-known lawyers and Supreme Court Justices in American history. Born in 1856 in Louisville, Kentucky, Brandeis rose through the ranks of the American legal system following his education at Harvard University. Brandeis’ legal briefs have had a lasting influence in the legality of privacy and the fight against monopolies, large overpowering corporations, and the arrival of mass consumerism in the 20th century.


    Louis Brandeis                                          George Gershwin   

    George Gershwin, born in Brooklyn in 1898, was a classical and jazz pianist regarded for his compositions Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris. His 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, initially rejected by the critics, featured a predominantly African American cast, a daring approach for the time. The opera has survived through the ages, being adapted for film, and continuing to be revived by operas throughout the world.

    The Marx Brothers were a comedic troupe of five brothers that emerged at the onset of the 20th century. The brothers had successes in vaudeville, theatre, and film. Referred to primarily by their stage names, Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo, the troupe received acclaim in their movies Duck Soup (1933) and A Night at the Opera (1935). In Warhol’s portrait, he paid homage to the movie poster for A Night in Casablanca (1946) which features the three eldest brothers. 


                                       Marx Brothers, A Night in Casablanca (1946)             Golda Meir          

    Golda Meir served as the first female and fourth overall Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. Meir was born in Kyiv, but her family left when she was seven in search of greater opportunities. The family landed on Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she joined various Zionist organizations including Habonim, the Labor Zionist Youth Movement. Later, Meir emigrated alongside her husband to Palestine where she participated in political activism. On May 14, 1948, Meir was one of the 24 signatories of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Prior to her role as Prime Minister, Golda Meir served as the Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Minister of Labour, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    Sarah Bernhardt, born Sarah Bernard, was a French actress who performed in popular French plays at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Bernhardt studied at the Paris Conservatory under well-known actors from the Comédie Française. She made a name for herself through her unique acting styles and divisive public image of elaborate clothing, lavish lifestyle, and public affairs.


    Sarah Bernhardt                                       Sigmund Freud

    Sigmund Freud is recognized as the father of psychoanalysis and a leading neurologist in the 19th and 20th centuries. He established the concept of transference and its role in psychoanalysis, which was significant for the treatment of mental disorders. Freud focused his studies and writings on the formulation of dreams, the Oedipus complex, and the power of the subconscious mind. Freud died in 1939 in the United Kingdom after fleeing the rise of the Nazi regime in Austria. 


    Warhol’s series received mixed reviews after its exhibition at the Jewish Museum in 1980. The New York Times wrote, 'the show is vulgar, it reeks of commercialism, and its contribution to art is nil'.iii While some saw the series as dull and exploitative, Art Forum wrote that "the paintings are staggering" and noted the "unexpected mix of cultural anthropology, portraiture, celebration of celebrity, and study of intelligentsia all at the same time".iv Warhol’s homage to these Jewish icons received contradictory responses after its conception, but these 20th century icons, pictured above in black and white, continue to be immortalized in his modernist, bright, and colorful style. Despite not being of Jewish descent himself, Warhol used his status and notoriety as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century to pay tribute to a group of Jewish leaders, ensuring that their legacies be remembered along with his paintings.

    i Berger, Maurice et al. Masterworks of the Jewish Museum, New York: The Jewish Museum, 2004, p. 230.
    ii Matty Edwards, Kafka’s Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity, The Local, 2015
    iii The National Portrait Gallery, Andy Warhol: 10 Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century, 24 January - 2 July 2006
    iv Ibid.

    • Literature

      Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 226-235

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Franz Kafka; Gertrude Stein; Martin Buber; Albert Einstein; Louis Brandeis; George Gershwin; The Marx Brothers; Golda Meir; Sarah Bernhardt and Sigmund Freud

    • Artist Biography

      Andy Warhol

      American • 1928 - 1987

      Andy Warhol was the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects, such as Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

      Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably also a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


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Ten Portraits Of Jews Of The Twentieth Century (F. & S. 226-235)

The complete set of ten screenprints in colors, on Lenox Museum Board, the full sheets.
all S. 40 x 32 in. (101.6 x 81.3 cm)
All signed and numbered 196/200 in pencil (there were also 30 artist's proofs), co-published by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York and Jonathan A Editions, Tel Aviv, all framed.

Full Cataloguing

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $403,200

Contact Specialist

212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24 - 26 October 2022