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Bronze candlestick in the shape of a happy Jewish speculator

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.627

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    Bronze candlestick in the shape of a happy Jewish speculator


    Brief Narrative
    Bronze candleholder depicting a Jewish speculator made around 1880 in Vienna, Austria. Likely one of a pair, the candlestick has a happy face with the term “hausse” inscribed on the base. The partner candlestick would have a sad face and “baisse” inscribed on the base. Both words are stock market terminology derived from the French words for “rise” and “drop.” The terms refer to the comparative price of assets at the times of buying and selling. The placement of the “baisse” on the sad-faced candleholder and the “hausse” on the happy one implies that Jews prefer to buy assets at lower prices and then sell them at a higher price, profiting from the price fluctuation. This references the antisemitic stereotypes of the greedy Jew who exploits Gentiles for their own economic advantage, and Jewish control of finance. These stereotypes 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 limited Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and moneylending. 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 and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles, and created negative connotations for Jews who worked in finance. The candlestick is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  approximately 1880
    creation: Vienna (Austria)
    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

    Furnishings and Furniture
    Lighting devices
    Object Type
    Candlesticks (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Cast bronze columnar candlestick in the form of a standing man with a large head and tapered body. He has curly hair and a beard, a large nose and ears, and an open, smiling mouth with teeth showing. He wears a tailcoat, pinstriped pants, and shoes. The flat brimmed hat has a deep well for the candle. The right arm is pressed to the chest, holding the opening of his collared vest. The left is behind his back, holding the coat vent. He stands, feet together, on a metal ball which is screwed into a square pedestal base with angled steps. A French word: hausse! [Raise!] is etched on the lower step. It has a green patina and discoloration, chiefly around the head.
    overall: Height: 6.500 inches (16.51 cm) | Width: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Depth: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm)
    overall : metal
    base, engraved : hausse! [Raise]

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The candlestick 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 18:13:49
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