Jewish Converts Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor Star in New Art Exhibit

At the heart of the show at the New York Jewish Museum are two portraits by pop artist Andy Warhol - whose series of silkscreens of famous Jews was recently stolen.

AP

Two celebrity Jewish converts and the man who painted them are the subject of a new exhibition opening in the New York Jewish Museum at the end of the month.

“Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn” celebrates both the iconic portraits of Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe done by celebrated pop artist Andy Warhol as well as the less-known fact that both converted to Judaism – and retained their faith following divorce.

The stories of Monroe and Taylor’s conversions are told through photographs, letters, ephemera and the two Warhol portraits – "Mint Marilyn" and "Blue Liz." Created in 1962, the paintings are on loan to the museum from private collections.

The exhibition also features several historic photographs of Warhol in his studio working on his now-famous portraits of the actresses.

Monroe converted in 1956, when she married Jewish playwright Arthur Miller. The marriage ended in 1961 but she observed the faith for the rest of her life.

Taylor contemplated becoming Jewish prior to her third marriage to Jewish theater and film producer Mike Todd in 1957. She finally converted in a ceremony at Hollywood’s Temple Israel after his death, in 1959.

Their personal journeys to Judaism are traced through a variety of photographs and ephemera, including an audio-recording of Taylor’s conversion ceremony and Monroe’s musical menorah, which plays the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah.

In 2008, the museum mounted “Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered,” an exhibition featuring Warhol’s 1980 portrait series of 10 leading Jewish cultural figures from the twentieth century.

Ironically, the celebrity website TMZ reported on Tuesday that the series of legendary silkscreens, which were purchased by a private family in the 80s, have turned out to be fakes.

According to TMZ, the works had been taken for reframing, where it was discovered that the Warhol originals had been swapped out and replaced by fakes.

The Los Angeles police discovered that one of the stolen silk screens was put up for auction at a local auction house recently and are hoping that records from the auction house may help them find the thief.

The 10 famous Jews included in the series are Golda Meir, the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud.

Two celebrity Jewish converts and the man who painted them are the subject of a new exhibition opening in the New York Jewish Museum at the end of the month.

“Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn” celebrates both the iconic portraits of Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe done by celebrated pop artist Andy Warhol as well as the less-known fact that both converted to Judaism – and retained their faith following divorce.

The stories of Monroe and Taylor’s conversions are told through photographs, letters, ephemera and the two Warhol portraits – "Mint Marilyn" and "Blue Liz." Created in 1962, the paintings are on loan to the museum from private collections.

The exhibition also features several historic photographs of Warhol in his studio working on his now-famous portraits of the actresses.

Monroe converted in 1956, when she married Jewish playwright Arthur Miller. The marriage ended in 1961 but she observed the faith for the rest of her life.

Taylor contemplated becoming Jewish prior to her third marriage to Jewish theater and film producer Mike Todd in 1957. She finally converted in a ceremony at Hollywood’s Temple Israel after his death, in 1959.

Their personal journeys to Judaism are traced through a variety of photographs and ephemera, including an audio-recording of Taylor’s conversion ceremony and Monroe’s musical menorah, which plays the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah.

In 2008, the museum mounted “Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered,” an exhibition featuring Warhol’s 1980 portrait series of 10 leading Jewish cultural figures from the twentieth century.

Ironically, the celebrity website TMZ reported on Tuesday that the series of legendary silkscreens, which were purchased by a private family in the 80s, have turned out to be fakes.

According to TMZ, the works had been taken for reframing, where it was discovered that the Warhol originals had been swapped out and replaced by fakes.

The Los Angeles police discovered that one of the stolen silk screens was put up for auction at a local auction house recently and are hoping that records from the auction house may help them find the thief.

The 10 famous Jews included in the series are Golda Meir, the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud.