Kaufmann's portraits and scenes of East European Jewry are infused with sensitivity and admiration. These portrayals of daily life are rendered with acutely focused realism that in Kaufmann's hands is spiritually uplifting. It is perhaps this aspect of his work that distinguishes him more than any other.
Women are infrequent subjects in Kaufmann's religious Jewish paintings. In this exquisite portrait, the young woman gazes directly at the viewer. She is adorned in traditional Ashkenazi attire worn by her contemporaries, including an elaborate sterntichel, the headdress of pearls and precious stones and a brusttuch, or bodice covering. This panel became more ornamental over time, as in this exquisite costume.
The fur trimmed shawl, delicate earrings and pearl necklace appear in other portraits of women, including Portrait of a Woman in Festive Dress and Hannah indicating that these were not their own, but supplied by Kaufmann. (http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2011/important-judaica-n08814/lot.55.html)
bridehatjewnecklaceyoung womansterntichelbrusttuchoil on cradled panelpearls