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Color print of a Jewish clothes peddler in Copenhagen

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.246

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    Color print of a Jewish clothes peddler in Copenhagen

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    Brief Narrative
    Copper engraving depicting a clothes peddler with several colorful garments draped over his arm. Johannes Senn likely drew the original image as part of a series called, “Dress Costumes in Copenhagen,” published by GL Lahde in Copenhagen, Denmark, during the early 18th century. The man in the image has a large nose, fleshy lips, and a beard; stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. Peddlers were itinerant vendors who sold goods to the public. Clothes peddlers dealt in old garments they bought, cleaned and repaired, and then sold for profit. Peddling was a common occupation for Jewish men during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, old prejudices originating from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews formed an antisemitic stereotype of Jewish peddlers. 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. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish peddler, an untrustworthy figure that sold cut-rate items at inflated prices. The print is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Skakker Jöde
    Alternate Title
    Clothes Jew
    Dress Costumes in Copenhagen
    Series Title
    publication/distribution:  approximately 1800-approximately 1830
    publication: Copenhagen (Denmark)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, bottom center, printed and handwritten, black ink and pencil : KLÆDEDRAGTER I KIØBENHAVN / Skakker Jöde, COPENHAGEN (handwritten), Kleiderjude / faaes hos Lahde Gothersgade 125. [Dress Costumes in Copenhagen / Clothes Jew, COPENHAGEN, Clothes Jew / available at Lahde at Gothersgade 125.]
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Publisher: GL Lahde
    Artist: Johannes Senn
    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

    Danish German
    Physical Description
    Colored, copper engraving on faded off-white paper depicting a full-length portrait of a Jewish peddler. He has a thin, curly beard along his jawline, a large, pointed nose, thick eyebrows, and slightly parted, fleshy lips. He wears a black tricorn hat, a knee-length green coat, striped blue leggings, and black boots. His left arm is raised to chest height with a stack of colorful clothing draped over his forearm, and a tapered, wooden walking stick in his hand. He stands with his feet apart, casting a short, stippled shadow. His head is turned to his left, and his right arm is raised to chest height as he points at the clothes on his opposite arm. The title and publication information are printed and handwritten in Danish and German at the bottom. There are penciled markings on the lower left corner and on the back.
    overall: Height: 10.375 inches (26.353 cm) | Width: 8.000 inches (20.32 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, pencil
    front, bottom center, handwritten, pencil : COPENHAGEN
    front, bottom left corner, handwritten, pencil : 8
    back, bottom center, handwritten, pencil : G.1388455(xx?)
    back, bottom right, handwritten, pencil : incl.

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Copenhagen (Denmark)

    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:
    2022-07-28 18:12:44
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