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Caricature of Carl Mayer Rothschild as a cat smuggling goods

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.327

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    Caricature of Carl Mayer Rothschild as a cat smuggling goods

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    Brief Narrative
    Poster with a caricature of Carl (Karl) Mayer Rothschild with his head on the body of a striped cat using its claws to pull contraband over the French-German border. It was part of Musee des Horreurs, an antisemitic series featuring 52 vicious caricatures of well known Jews and others involved in the Dreyfus Affair. It was produced in 1899-1900 by an artist under the pseudonym V. Lenepveu. The Rothschild family was not involved in the scandal, but their prominence made them targets of the anti-Jewish fanaticism engulfing France. The Dreyfus Affair was a political scandal revolving around antisemitism that inflamed France in the late 19th century. Alfred Dreyfus was an army captain found guilty of treason in 1894 for selling French military secrets to the Germans. Antisemitic publications used Dreyfus as a symbol of the disloyalty of all French Jews. In 1896, another man was tried and acquitted of the same crime. Emile Zola, a prominent author and journalist, wrote a letter to protest the verdict, titled "J'Accuse," in which he accused the French Army of covering up its unjust conviction of Dreyfus. Zola was charged with libel and the Dreyfus Affair grew into a national political crisis. An Army intelligence officer was found to have forged the document proving Dreyfus's guilt. But in a second trial at Rennes, despite the confession of the traitor, Esterhazy, the Army again convicted Dreyfus. On September 9, he was sentenced to prison for another ten years. The verdict was met with outrage around the world, and there were threats to boycott the World's Fair in Paris in 1900. Dreyfus was offered a pardon by the president to end the crisis, which he accepted September 19. The poster is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Karl Mayer le Contrebandier, No. 43
    Series Title
    Musee des Horreurs
    publication:  1899-1900
    publication: Paris (France)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, top left, black ink : MUSÉE / DES / HORREURS
    front, top right, black ink : No.43 / Karl Mayer / le Contrebandier [No.43 / Karl Mayer / The Smuggler]
    front, bottom left, black ink : Prochainement: /JAMES,ALPHONSE et l’Emprunt Russe, LÉONORA, / SALOMON,LIONEL,NATHANIEL,CHARLOTTE,EDOUARD, etc., etc. / Impr. Gérant: LENEPVEU, 58,rue Dulong, PARIS
    front, bottom center, within image, black ink: V. Lenepveu
    front, bottom right, black ink : La collection compléte du MUSÉE des HORREURS est en vente / à l’Administon. 58, rue Dulong et au Bureau de Vente: 10,rue du Croissant
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Publisher: Imprimerie Lenepveu
    Artist: V. Lenepveu
    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
    Poster in black ink on light brown paper depicting a caricature of a man’s head on the body of a striped cat. He wears pince-nez on his large, curved nose and has stereotypical Jewish features: thick eyebrows, hooded eyes, and fleshy, bow-shaped lips. He has furry, pointed ears, a bald crown, and bushy, black mutton chops. His head is in quarter left profile with his rear end and curved tail raised. He stands in a field to the right of a picket fence with a sign indicating Germany is to the left and France to the right. His front right paw is stretched out, pulling a package past the end of the fence line toward him. It is stamped with R., contrabande, and a bundle of 5 upward pointing arrows. There are several more bundles to his right. There is French text across the top and bottom. It is adhered to a slightly larger linen backing.
    overall: Height: 27.875 inches (70.803 cm) | Width: 21.500 inches (54.61 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, linen, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The poster 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 18:30:24
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