George Gershwin (born Jacob Gershwine), as depicted in Andy Warhol’s George Gershwin 231, was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin’s musical repertoire ranged from popular to classical. Some of his most famous works, Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris, have been and are still widely used and heavily influential in pop culture, film and television. George Gershwin collaborated with his brother Ira to write music for Broadway theatre, and they continued to compose together for Hollywood films up until Gershwin’s untimely death in 1937.
George Gershwin is a part of Warhol’s Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century. Warhol was prolific in his works depicting celebrities and was well known for his fascination with fame. It is noted that Warhol’s portraiture tends to reveal only the surface of a subject, just their image. In this series of portraits, the type of celebrity Warhol deals with is not so glamorous or typical of his usual pick of movie or rock stars. Each portrait is of a very influential figure in either the arts, sciences, or law. Other prints in the series include Albert Einstein, Golda Meir and Franz Kafka.