In 1898, John would embark on his largest private portrait commission that would, when it was finally finished, span ten years and include twelve oil portraits. This suite of paintings would be unmatched by anything outside his mural work.
It started simple enough. Asher Wertheimer had hired John to paint his wife and himself in two pendent portraits which would celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. As so many had before them, the Wertheimers fell in love with the charming artist. Unlike others though, they were utterly insatiable for his work in depicting their family. With one portrait done, Asher and his wife would want another, and then another, and then yet another after that. John would joke that he felt he was in a state of "chronic Wertheimerism." The bond between them would become so strong that the family held a chair at their dinner table in reserve for whenever he wanted to drop in -- and he would.
In October of 1999, The Jewish Museum of New York put together the entire group of twelve portraits for the first time since they hung privately in the family's home.
Now take a look at
Jewish Museum's write-up on this wonderful suite of paintings.