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Painting of a Jewish family traveling by wagon at sunset

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.278

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    Painting of a Jewish family traveling by wagon at sunset

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    Brief Narrative
    Oil painting titled, “Jews rushing home for the Sabbath,” painted by Polish artist H. Pilsodtzky in approximately 1870. Shabbat (also known as the Sabbath) is the seventh day of the Jewish week, and is a day of rest. In accordance with the Hebrew calendar, which defines a day as the period from sunset to sunset, Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. One of the aspects of Shabbat is a prohibition on certain types of work, called “melachah.” There are 39 categories of “melachah” that observant Jews are not allowed to undertake on the Shabbat. Among these tasks are prohibitions on travel over a certain distance on foot, and travel by a mechanical device or animal-driven means of transportation, including cars, bicycles, or wagons. The painting shows a large Jewish family traveling home in a horse-drawn wagon as the sun sets. With Shabbat is fast approaching, the family is still mid-journey, in the middle of a barren landscape. If the sun sets before they reach their destination, it is implied that the observant family will have to stop and spend the following night and day stranded in the lifeless area because of the prohibition against “melachah.” The image frames this tenant of Jewish beliefs as impractical, and ridicules Judaism and Jews who adhere to the prohibitions on the Shabbat. The painting is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Jews Rushing Home for Sabbath
    creation:  approximately 1870
    creation: Europe
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, lower right corner, light brown paint : H. Pilsodtzky
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Artist: H. Pilsodtzky
    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

    Oil paintings.
    Physical Description
    Painting in oil on canvas of a spoke wheeled wagon, crowded with people, being pulled by a single horse with drooping head leftward along a country road at sunset. The wagon has a canvas covered back where the women, children, and old folk are seated. The driver sits in front with his whip raised. Behind him stands a man holding up a large watch and gesturing to an older man on the horse, who is looking back at him. A man with a child on his shoulders walk beside the horse. Another man hangs off the back of the wagon, and a dog trails behind. The men have stereotypically Jewish features: large, hooked noses, thick eyebrows, sidelocks, and long beard, and some are red haired. The men wear hats and country style blouses and tattered pants. They travel through a barren, uneven landscape with dead trees. The sky is filled with clouds, glowing and bright on the left where the sun sets and dark and shadowy on the right. The painting is a blend of brown, green, orange, and yellow. It may be discolored from varnish and has ridges. It is in a beveled, brown stained, open back wooden frame.
    overall: Height: 19.000 inches (48.26 cm) | Width: 27.875 inches (70.803 cm) | Depth: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm)
    pictorial area: Height: 14.250 inches (36.195 cm) | Width: 23.250 inches (59.055 cm)
    overall : canvas, oil paint

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The painting 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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