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Print adhered to glass of a Jewish man hiding his gold

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.280

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    Print adhered to glass of a Jewish man hiding his gold

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    Brief Narrative
    English mezzotint print titled, “The Miser,” based on a painting by Philip Mercier, created in the mid-18th century. The print depicts a Jewish man worriedly gathering his coins and locking them in a chest. The man has a beard and wears a kippah, a traditional Jewish head covering. Both are stereotypical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. A miser is a person who greedily hoards money, often to the detriment of themselves and others. Misers are often portrayed as Jewish, and are frequently shown hoarding, counting, or handling money. This stereotype 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 forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing or money lending. 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, greedy, and willing to engage in unethical business practices. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish man expressing an exaggerated desire for, or counting money. However, the practice of hoarding money goes against the Jewish principle of giving charitable contributions to the less fortunate called “Tzedakah,” and there are several Jewish parables that warn against hoarding wealth. Philip Mercier, a Prussian-born artist who worked in England for several decades in the mid-18th century, created the image this mezzotint is based on. It was later printed by Richard Houston, an Irish engraver and printmaker who worked for the publisher, Robert Sayer in London. The print is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    The Miser
    creation:  approximately 1750-1760
    creation: Great Britain
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, below image, black ink : Ph. Merrier Pinst. / Richd. Houston Fecit
    front, bottom, title, black ink : The MISER
    front, bottom, caption, black ink : To Iron Chest with Treasure line’d. / Scrape-all, of avoricious Mind. -- / Retires with sweet - Delight: / Oh, He cou’d count the Pieces o’er. -- / The Date, the Reign, of each explore. / With Joy from Morn to Night! / But Miser hark! there’s someone near: -- / Thy Riches foster Care and Fear. / How hard a Lot is thine! / Curs’d with a Heart, nor good, nor free. / To Gold a meaner Have than He / Who diggs it in the Mine.
    front, bottom, black ink : Printed for Robt. Sayer, Map & Printseller, opposite Fetter Lane. Fleetstreet. Price 1:6.
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Printer: Richard Houston
    Artist: Philip Mercier
    Publisher: R. Sayer & J. Bennett
    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

    Physical Description
    Mezzotint on paper adhered to a glass pane with an image of a Jewish man wearing a black kippah storing his money inside a wood and metal chest on a table in front of him. He looks over his shoulder at an open door, his thick eyebrows raised and hooded eyes wide with concern, as though worried someone will see him. He clutches a brown cloth sack against his chest with his right hand while reaching for a pile of coins to fill it with his left hand. There is a padlock and key on the table beside the coins. The man has a large, pointed nose and his fleshy lips are pressed together tightly. The title and several lines of English text are printed below the image. It is in a brown wooden frame.
    overall: Height: 16.625 inches (42.228 cm) | Width: 12.625 inches (32.068 cm) | Depth: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm)
    overall: Height: 14.250 inches (36.195 cm) | Width: 10.250 inches (26.035 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, paint, glass, wood

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    London (England)

    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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