The Kabbalist was one of Kaufmann's most popular subjects. He painted several versions of this particular young Rabbi, with his serious and penetrating gaze, which vary slightly from one to the other. One of the portraits, bearing the title Der Kabbalist, was reproduced in 1925 in the Isidor Kaufmann Portfolio, edited by Hermann Menkes and published in Vienna. This portfolio contained sixteen of Kaufmann's most famous and beloved subjects.
As seen in the photograph below, The Kabbalist comes from the celebrated collection of Oscar and Regina Gruss. Having narrowly escaped the Holocaust, the Gruss’s dedicated themselves after the war to building the finest collection of works by Jewish artists, particularly a group of “stunningly virtuosic works by Kaufmann and the historically significantly suite of paintings of Jewish life by Oppenheim” (Norman L. Kleeblatt in The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe, exhibition catalogue, The Jewish Museum, November 2001–March 2002, p. 10).