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Terracotta figurine of a Jewish peddler with an underfed cow

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.53

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    Terracotta figurine of a Jewish peddler with an underfed cow


    Brief Narrative
    Colorful terracotta figurine of a Jewish dealer and a bony, worn out cow, modelled by Anton Sohn in early 19th century Germany. It is a satirical depiction of the stereotypical Jewish peddler who always tries to cheat. While the figure is clearly Jewish, the features are not exagerrated to get the point across, reflecting how deeply the concept of the deceitful Jewish salesman was embedded in the culture. Many of Sohn's works were based upon drawings by Hieronymus Hess. This work is on his style, but the original is not known. Sohn (1769-1841), trained as a church painter, established a workshop in Zizenhausen, Germany, that was celebrated for its exceptionally detailed and elaborate terracotta figurines. His subject matter ranged widely and included genre and satirical groups on popular, topical themes, and religious figurines which were favorites for Christmas displays in homes, as well as businesses. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Sie isch no fail
    Alternate Title
    She is not lazy
    creation:  approximately 1819-approximately 1830
    manufacture: Zizenhausen (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Artisan: Anton Sohn
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

    Physical Details

    Decorative Arts
    Physical Description
    Modelled, polychrome, painted terracotta figurine of a Jewish peddler leaning on the right side a bony, brown cow, both in right profile. He wears a brown top hat, a green tailcoat with matching vest and breeches, a red neck cloth, white stockings, and black and blue striped spats over black shoes. His face is painted light tan with a red nose, cheek,s and lips. A gray and red scarf is wrapped around his head and chin. He stands with his right leg straight and the left leg slightly bent and forward. His left forearm rests on the cow's back and in his hand is a brown string that goes around the cow's neck. In his right hand, which rests on his hip, he holds a dark brown walking stick with the hooked bottom resting on the ground. The cow has a down turned right horn and a full udder crowded with teats. Her haunches have angled bones and her black hooves are overextended with turned up tips, and resemble slippers. Her skin is wrinkled and sagging, with dark brown textured splotches on the back and side. The figures have open, flat sliced, halfbacks with a hollow concave interior, unpainted with furrowed lines. They stand on a light green, oval base with an open, unpainted concave bottom with furrowed lines and 2 metal pins. A paper label with a German phrase is adhered to the base front. For another version, see 2016.184.633.
    overall: Height: 7.125 inches (18.097 cm) | Width: 6.875 inches (17.463 cm) | Depth: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm)
    overall : terracotta, paint, glaze, metal, paper, adhesive, ink
    front, base, paper label, black ink : Sie isch no fail [She is not lazy]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Sohn, Anton, 1769-1841.

    Administrative Notes

    The figurine was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:11:15
    This page:

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