Warhol portraits of Jews have been stolen

(JTA) — Nine iconic silkscreen portraits of Jewish celebrities by the artist Andy Warhol have been stolen.

A family in Los Angeles who purchased the portraits in the 1980s made the discovery when they were taken to be reframed and the framer realized they were fakes, the website TMZ reported.

In 1980, Warhol created a portrait series of 10 leading Jewish cultural figures of the 20th century, which he called “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century.” They were Golda Meir, the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud.

It is not known when the fake portraits were swapped for the real ones, valued at about $350,000.

One of the paintings was put up for auction at Bonhams auction house in Los Angeles, according to TMZ. Police have seized auction house records in order to help recover the portraits.

The Jewish Museum in New York has an upcoming exhibition that features Warhol paintings of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, “Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn,” but those paintings come from different collections and are not part of the “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century.”

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