Warhol portraits discovered stolen ahead of Jewish Museum exhibit

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Nine iconic silkscreen portraits by artist Andy Warhol, including those of actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, were discovered stolen ahead of a public exhibit.

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 TMZ website reported.

Two of the portraits were set to go on display in the upcoming “Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn” exhibit at the New York Jewish Museum, scheduled to open on Sept. 25.

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

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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.

In 1980, Warhol created a portrait series of  10 leading Jewish cultural figures of the 20th century: Golda Meir, the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud.

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