Abe Frajndlich: Portraits of Our Early Years

Curated by Jill Snyder

March 15, 2019August 11, 2019
CORRECTIONS: There were several factual errors in the “Claus Oldenburg” section of our exhibition brochure for Abe Frajndlich: Portraits of Our Early Years (March 16 – August 11, 2019). The monumental sculpture, Standing Mitt with Ball (1973) was acquired by and installed at the home of Albrecht and Agnes Gund Saalfield, not Albrecht and Melissa Saalfield, as wrongly cited. Albrecht and Agnes were introduced to Oldenburg by The New Gallery co-founder Nina Sundell. It is this monumental sculpture, not a smaller version as wrongly reported in our original copy, which was donated to the Cleveland Museum of Art by Agnes Gund in 2017 and is installed in the museum’s atrium. We deeply apologize for these errors.  


In celebration of moCa’s 50th anniversary the Museum will presents a special collection of portraits by Cleveland based artist Abe Frajndlich (1946, Frankfurt, Germany; lives in Cleveland). Frajndlich is internationally recognized for his work portraying artists, celebrities, and cultural icons. We present a series of intimate portraits of significant artists and figures from the Museum’s early years, those who began to establish our legacy. This body of portraits includes depictions of artists such as Christo, who wrapped moCa’s The New Gallery, Robert Rauschenberg, whose work has been presented at moCa over a dozen times, and Laurie Anderson, who showed at moCa early in her career. 

Abe Frajndlich is best known for his portraits of artists, some of whom are among the most important contemporary artists of our time including Cindy Sherman, Annie Leibovitz, Thomas Struth, Imogen Cunningham, Lucas Samaras, and Gordon Parks, among many others. This legacy exhibition continues the Museum’s long relationship with one of Cleveland’s celebrated artists as Frajndlich offers a snapshot into moCa’s history and pioneering spirit.

Abe Frajndlich is a freelance art, magazine, and commercial photographer. Has worked for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Life, ArtNews, London Sunday Times, London Observer, Vanity Fair, and many others in the U.S. and Europe. His most recent book, Penelope's Hungry Eyes: Portraits of Famous Photographers, was published by Schirmer/Mosel in 2011. His work has been widely presented in solo and group exhibitions at venues that include: Kunsthaus Rhenania, Koln, Germany; Leica Gallery, New York; University of Delaware Museum of Art, Newark, DE; Galerie Tammen, Berlin, Germany; New York Historical Society, New York; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Paule Pia, Antwerp, Belgium; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Mass. Frajndlich’s work is held in numerous museum and private collections.


All current exhibitions are funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Leadership Circle gifts from anonymous donors, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Grosvie and Charlie Cooley, Becky Dunn, Lauren Rich Fine, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Michelle and Richard Jeschelnig, Kohl Family, Jan Lewis, Toby Devan Lewis, Roy Minoff, and Scott and Kelly Mueller. 

All moCa Cleveland exhibitions are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.

Sherwin-Williams is the official paint of moCa Cleveland.

Major support for this exhibition provided by Roy Minoff. Additional support from the Anselm Talalay Photography Endowment.