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Pair of painted candlesticks of a happy and a sad Jewish speculator

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.154 a-b

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    Pair of painted candlesticks of a happy and a sad Jewish speculator
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Pair of painted bronze candleholders depicting Jewish speculators made around 1880 in Vienna, Austria. One speculator has a happy face with the term “hausse” inscribed on the base, the other has a sad face and the term “baisse” inscribed on the base. Both words are stock market terminology derived from the French words for “rise” and “drop.” The terms refer to the comparative price of assets at the times of buying and selling. The placement of the “baisse” on the sad-faced candleholder and the “hausse” on the happy one implies that Jews prefer to buy assets at lower prices and then sell them at a higher price, profiting from the price fluctuation. This references the antisemitic stereotypes of the greedy Jew who exploits Gentiles for their own economic advantage, and Jewish control of finance. These stereotypes originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions limited Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and moneylending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon, predominantly by European Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles, and created negative connotations for Jews who worked in finance. The candlesticks are two of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Date
    creation:  approximately 1880
    Geography
    creation: Vienna (Austria)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Markings
    a. base, engraved : hausse! [Raise]
    b. base, engraved : baisse! [Lower]
    Contributor
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Biography
    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

    Language
    French
    Classification
    Furnishings and Furniture
    Category
    Lighting devices
    Object Type
    Candlesticks (lcsh)
    Genre/Form
    Candelabras.
    Physical Description
    a. Cast brass, painted columnar candlestick in the form of a man with a large head and tapered body. He has a light peach/brown face, curly brown graying hair and close trimmed beard, a large, hooked nose and protruding ears, and an open, smiling red mouth with white teeth. He wears a black tailcoat, gray pinstriped pants, and black shoes. The flat brimmed, black hat has a deep well for the candle. The right arm is pressed to the chest, holding the opening of his collared white vest. The left is behind his back, holding the coat vent. He stands, feet together, on a metal ball which is fastened by a nut, washer, and bolt screwed into a square pedestal base with angled sides and bevel bottom edge. A French word: hausse! [Raise!] is etched on the lower step.
    b. Cast brass, painted columnar candlestick in the form of a man with a large head and tapered body. He has a light peach/brown face, curly brown graying hair and close trimmed beard, a large, hooked nose and protruding ears, and a closed, downturned, red mouth with white teeth. He wears a black tailcoat, gray pinstriped pants, and black shoes. The flat brimmed, black hat has a deep well for the candle. The right arm is pressed to the chest, holding the opening of his collared white vest. The left is behind his back, holding the coat vent. He stands, feet together, on a metal ball which is fastened by a nut, washer, and bolt screwed into a square pedestal base with angled sides and bevel bootom edge. A French word: baisse! [Lower!] is etched on the lower step.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Width: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Depth: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm)
    b: Height: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Width: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Depth: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm)
    Materials
    a : metal, paint
    b : metal, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Austria.

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The candlesticks were 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:
    2022-07-28 18:12:38
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn538262

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