Thief Steals Andy Warhol Paintings of Famous Jews

Warhol Jews (Hulton Archive / Getty)
Hulton Archive / Getty

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is searching for a thief who stole silkscreens from a series that featured famous Jews painted by Andy Warhol.

TMZ reported that the silkscreens from “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century” were bought by a family in the 1980’s and featured on the walls of their movie editing company.

One of the members of the family recently noticed that the silk screens were sagging and brought them to a framer for reframing. The framer informed the family member that the silk screens were fake.

Nine pieces were stolen. The estimated value of the paintings stolen amounted to $350,000.

The series, “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century,” was originally published as a portfolio of silkscreen prints on paper, according to the Jewish Museum in New York City, where they debuted. The Museum wrote, “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.”

Only 200 silkscreens were created, featured paintings of the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Golda Meir, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud. The LAPD reported at least seven of the portraits were stolen, adding that there LAPD has found that one of the stolen silkscreens was offered to Bonhams auction house. The LAPD obtained a search warrant for investigation.

The New York Times, writing in 2008, said of the series, “The issue for Warhol is not what his subjects did and not Jewishness in general. His real subject was fame. He was interested in famous people simply because they were famous.”