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Painting of three older Jewish men having a chat outdoors

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.284

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    Painting of three older Jewish men having a chat outdoors

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    Brief Narrative
    Oil painting of three Jewish men, dressed in black, standing together and talking made during the 19th century in Bohemia. The men have large noses and long beards, two stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. Two of the men are gesticulating with their hands as they speak, a trait commonly associated with Jews. The third man is leaning back on an umbrella. Jewish peddlers, who spent most of their time outdoors often carried umbrellas, and over time they became associated with Jews. The black clothing conforms to the Jewish concept of tzniyus (modest dress and behavior), which Orthodox Jews adhere to for religious reasons. All three men wear a long black suit-style jacket, either a “rekel” or a “bekishe,” with brimmed hats. Men traditionally wear the fancier bekishe on special occasions such as Jewish holidays, weddings or on the Sabbath. The simpler rekel is worn on an everyday basis. In Orthodox Judaism, only men can wear brimmed hats. Jewish boys receive their first hat following their bar mitzvah, when they are ready to observe religious laws and are eligible to take part in public worship. Due to their clothing and other distinctive practices, Hasidic Jews were easy targets for the Nazis and their collaborators. A large number of Hasidic leaders and their followers were killed during the Holocaust. The painting is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Three Jews with Umbrellas having a 'Shmuss'
    creation:  approximately 1801-approximately 1899
    creation: Bohemia (Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    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 uneven pressed cardboard of an amateur group portrait of three Jewish men standing face to face in the street talking. An older man is centered just behind the others, who are partially turned towards him, their faces in profile. The older man is speaking with his arms raised and hands open for emphasis. He is looking at the man on the right, who is leaning on a tall, dark green umbrella behind his back. He is holding it with both hands, his left arm curved backward in an unnatural anatomical position. The man on the left is looking to the right as gestures with his hand. A white, two-story building and dark green trees along the street in the background add perspective. The sky is shaded in blue and gray tones. The canvas is set within a large frame made from 5 nested layers of wood stained 5 shades of brown measuring 23.875.x 20.000 x 1.500.
    overall: Height: 16.250 inches (41.275 cm) | Width: 12.500 inches (31.75 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    overall : oil paint, fiberboard

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Bohemia (Czech Republic)

    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 18:12:45
    This page:

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