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Expressionist oil painting of 2 Jewish men talking

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.300

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    Expressionist oil painting of 2 Jewish men talking

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    Brief Narrative
    Expressionist oil painting depicting two old, Orthodox Jewish men conversing on the street. Expressionism emerged during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Expressionist artists used color, exaggeration, and distortion of realistic forms to convey emotion and meaning. Expressionist art was often a visual response to or comment on shifts in social and cultural trends. The men have large noses and long beards, two stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. Both are wearing brimmed hats and are dressed in black, which conforms to the Jewish concept of tzniyus (modest dress and behavior) that Orthodox Jews adhere to for religious reasons. Their long, black suit-style jackets are either “rekels” or “bekishes.” 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.
    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 paper adhered to wood of two men with sorrowful facial expressions facing each other and talking. The men are outlined with thick black lines. They have overly large hands, ears, and noses and wear black hats and long black coats. The man on the left is standing with his hands folded behind his back. He has thick black eyebrows and a long white beard. His face and hands are painted yellow, orange, green, brown, and red. The man on the right is leaning forward, with both hands resting a brown walking stick. He has a long gray beard. His face and hands are painted green, orange, and black. The background is light brown, painted gray with blue and pink streaks on the ground, with swirled black, orange and red paint around the figures. The painting is framed in a gold painted, plaster covered wooden frame with embossed floral designs.
    overall: Height: 18.000 inches (45.72 cm) | Width: 14.000 inches (35.56 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    overall : oil paint, paper, cardboard, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    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 18:12:47
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