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Print adhered to glass of a Jewish man hiding his gold

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.280

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
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:12:44
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