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Gillray print of Jewish boxer Mendoza in fighting stance

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.161

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    Gillray print of Jewish boxer Mendoza in fighting stance

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    Brief Narrative
    Colored etching by James Gillray with a portrait of Jewish bareknuckle prizefighter Daniel Mendoza in a fighting stance. Billed as Mendoza the Jew, he held the title of Champion of England from 1792 to 1795, and was the first prominent Jewish prizefighter in England. Mendoza was smaller than his opponents, and won his bouts with superior technique, speed, and agility. His style, known as the Mendoza or Jewish school, is credited with inspiring a generation of boxers and establishing many elements of modern boxing. The print is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    publication/distribution:  1788 April 24
    publication: London (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, bottom left, black ink : J. Gillray ad viv. del. et fect.
    front, bottom center, black ink : MENDOZA.
    front, bottom right, black ink : Pubd. April 24th. by I. Lewis, & sold by J. Aitkin, Castle Street, / Leicester Fields. / Pr 3s.
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Artist: James Gillray
    Subject: Daniel Mendoza
    Publisher: I. Lewis
    Distributor: James Aitkin
    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.
    Daniel Mendoza was born on July 5, 1764, in Aldgate, London, England, to a large, poor Sephardic family descended from Spanish Marranos. He was apprenticed to a glass cutter. At 16, Mendoza began training with Richard Humphreys, a professional bareknuckle boxer. There were no weight classes in boxing, and the 5 foot 7 inch, 160 pound Mendoza had to face larger opponents. To compensate, he developed a technical style that emphasized footwork, jabbing, agility, speed, and and introduced the concept of defense. He rose to prominence quickly, fighting as Mendoza the Jew, and was the first Jewish figher to become champion. Mendoza fought approximately 35 professional fights, losing only 4, and was Champion of England from 1792-1795. Mendoza became one of the most celebrated figures in 18th century England. His image and, most frequently, the story of his three bouts with his mentor Humphreys, were portrayed in prints, tableware, and other merchandise. The Prince of Wales was a patron, and this royal acceptance was beneficial to Jews throughout British society. Jews had been expelled from England in 1296, and not permitted to return untl 1656. Mendoza opened several boxing academies where he taught his scientific approach to the sport, known as the Mendoza or Jewish school, and published a book, The Art of Boxing. He also performed touring demonstrations. He was married and had 11 children. Mendoza, 72, died on September 3, 1836.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Print of an etching, handcolored, on paper depicting a muscular barechested boxer standing in a fighting stance, legs spread, knees bent, with both fists raised to shoulder height. He has dark brown hair, a pointed nose, tightly closed lips, and a stern expression. He wears offwhite breeches, stockings, and black shoes with red laces. He stands in an elevated ring with wooden rails, surrounded by a crowd of male spectators. The front row wears black hats and colorful jackets; the back rows are in shades of gray. In the background is a gray shaded landscape with mountain. The title and publishing information are printed along the bottom. There are handwritten markings on the back.
    overall: Height: 17.375 inches (44.133 cm) | Width: 13.250 inches (33.655 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The print 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:
    2024-04-29 07:55:00
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