Brandeis Gets Fifteen More Minutes

By Beth Schwartzapfel

Published November 17, 2006, issue of November 17, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Louis Brandeis, and so in honor of the milestone, the university that bears his name was gifted a most unusual portrait of the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice. Andy Warhol’s “Louis Brandeis,” which the artist created as part of a series called “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century,” was donated to Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum by the children of prominent New York art dealer Ronald Feldman and unveiled this week at a raucous party at the university’s student center.

Like many Warhol portraits, his “Brandeis” is based on a photograph, said Michael Rush, director of the museum. “It’s a very stately photograph,” Rush told the Forward, “but what he does is he adds geometric shapes of color, and sort of neon outlining around the figures. He created pop stars out of everybody with these portraits.”

Feldman runs a gallery in the SoHo area of New York City that is known for promoting edgy and provocative artwork. He developed a relationship with Warhol in the final decade of the artist’s life; Feldman ultimately commissioned him to create more than 50 paintings, drawings and prints. “Ten Portraits” was the first of these commissions, and it opened in the fall of 1980 at the Jewish Museum in New York. Feldman’s three children, Mark, Andrew and Julie, purchased “Louis Brandeis” from Warhol at the time. “It’s a painting that we really enjoyed, that was really special to us,” Mark Feldman told the Shmooze. “Obviously we’re sorry to see it go, but we really felt that, in honor of Louie Brandeis’s birth, this was the right time to donate it, and that Brandeis the university was the place that it belonged. We feel like it’s at home.”

In addition to Brandeis, Warhol’s “Ten Portraits” series included images of Kafka, Einstein, Gertrude Stein and Golda Meir. The series began as an edition of prints — 200 sets of 10 — and the paintings followed. Rush estimates that the Brandeis portrait is worth between $300,000 and $500,000.

Louis Brandeis made a name for himself as “the people’s lawyer.” He is credited with originating the concept of the right of privacy and with pioneering the use of sociological data to support a legal argument.

The party at which the painting was unveiled featured a crowd of several hundred people and a jazz ensemble. “It felt like a rock concert,” Rush said. “It was very Warholian.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.