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Lawrence Lebduska, 1894 - 1966
Louis Kaufman, 1905 - 1994
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 75.6 x 55.9cm (29 3/4 x 22")
Frame: 90.5 x 71.1 x 3.8cm (35 5/8 x 28 x 1 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Louis and Annette Kaufman Trust
The New York Times called Louis Kaufman "a violinist's violinist and a musician's musician." He played chamber music with such luminaries as Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifetz, and Fritz Kreisler. But when he was asked to play the soundtrack for Ernst Lubitsch's movie The Merry Widow in 1934, Kaufman launched a unique career in which he played for as many as 500 movies, including such classics as Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, and Spartacus. Kaufman is also credited with bringing the near-forgotten music of Antonio Vivaldi to its current popularity. An inveterate art collector, he commissioned his portrait from Lawrence Lebduska in an effort to assist the artist, whose colorful, untutored style he greatly admired.
The sitter; his wife Annette Kaufman, Los Angeles; gift 2007 to NPG