London: Nonpareil, 1982. Item #42421
1st edition. Original illustrated paper wrappers, folio, 128 pages. Multiple illustrations on ever page, many in color. 31 cm. Supplement to Ruben's massiver Jewish Iconography (Revised 1981), which includes a long list of important artists, traditions and works. Reviewing an earlier edition of Jewish Iconography (subsumed into the 1981 production), Alfred Werner noted, “These historically as well as artistically invaluable prints might never been collected and catalogued but for Alfred Rubens….he began to ferret them out of bookstores, printshops, and the dusty corners of Europe and the United States, his hobby then turning into a life-work,” the publications “he compiled are painstakingly accurate catalogues raisonnés of his own collection, plus a number of items to be found in the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York and elsewhere….A Jewish Iconography ranges over all of Europe from Amsterdam to Constantinople, and even includes material from Alexandria, Cairo, Damascus, and Jerusalem. And also the number of illustrations is much greater, offering a more valuable and imposing panorama. ….A Jewish Iconography is more than catalogue. In part, for one thing, its alphabetical listing of the portraits of Jewish personalities constitutes a kind of Jewish biographical dictionary. Most of the likenesses are of people from Continental Europe; these include Lassalle, the Mendelssohns, Jacob Meyerbeer, Joseph Suess Oppenheimer, the Rothschilds, Sabbatai Zevi, and Spinoza. Among the Americans we find Mordecai Manuel Noah. Secondly, the book…has an intrinsic artistic appeal thanks to its many woodcuts, engravings, etchings, and lithographs. Many of the artists represented in it are unimportant, but there are at least a few samples of work by such outstanding men as Chodowiecki (Germany); Dalle Piani (Italy); the Cruikshanks, Hogarth, and Rowlandson in England; Picart, Ruysdael, and the great Rembrandt in Holland. Of the Jewish artists, the most significant are Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, Edouard Moise, and Simeon Solomon. Quite a few of the tradecards, watch papers, and ornamental bill-heads are the work of generally anonymous Jewish engravers—engraving, like embroidering, being an art in which the pre-Emancipation Jews excelled and having an ultimately Oriental origin. Thirdly, the volume is a form of Kulturgeschichte in its depiction, both in the reproductions and in the texts describing prints not reproduced, of bygone customs and costumes. Mr. Rubens devotes a good deal of space to artistically inferior but historically fascinating little prints, many of them caricatures, that enjoyed an enormous vogue, especially in the 18th century. The general populace did not then read newspapers, many people were barely literate, and it remained for cartoonists, political and otherwise, to give an account of the most sensational, most picturesque, though not necessarily most edifying characters and episodes of the day. Thus there are more pictures of mountebanks and scoundrels, adventurers and crackpots, than of saintly men and women. These cheap and generally crude prints, which were sold in the streets for a few pennies, offer an exciting social history covering the period, in England, from Henry VIII to Queen Victoria…. We are taken to Constantinople, where in 1528 a Jew, after being converted to Christianity, is martyred by the Turks; to North Africa, where Jews were forced to wear a distinctive dress long after their co-religionists shed it in other parts of the world; to the Crimea, with the distinctive synagogues and burial grounds of the Karaite sect; to Bordeaux, where Jews cried their wares through the streets, “Vieux habits, vieux galons!” or “Quelque chose à vendre!” In Frankfort-on-Main, the plundering of the ghetto follows the riots instigated by Fettmilch, the Haman of 1614; in Hamburg, the publication of Dr. Jenner’s revolutionary work on vaccination prompts a hostile cartoonist to lampoon the English physician and his German translator as despicable Jews because Hamburg’s Jewry welcomed vaccination….But the general reader will pay most attention to the illustrations… and rightly so. Most mirror the spirit of the Baroque Age, others reflect Rococo and Neo-Classical styles. In quality, they range from crude folk art to great graphic work, such as the engraving made after Guérin’s charming portrait of Fanny von Arnstein, or the etching of an Algerian Jewess made by Guérin’s most famous pupil, Eugène Delacroix. Nor are the quite unpretentious tradecards—one of a Jewish optician and mathematical instrument maker to His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester, and to His Grace, the Duke of Wellington; another of a “slopman” (purveyor of cheap readymade clothing) to his Royal Highness, Prince William Henry—devoid of charm. And the story of Jewish emancipation cannot be expressed more dramatically than by the juxtaposition of the offensive wood engraving of ‘Jobst Mellern,’ a 16th-century dweller of the Prague ghetto, barefoot, in a cloak bearing the “Jew badge,” and the delicate stipple engraving of that elegant 19th-century American gentleman, Major Mordecai Manuel Noah” (In Commentary, August 1955). SUBJECT(S): Jews -- Portraits -- Catalogs. Judaism -- Customs and practices -- Pictorial works -- Catalogs. Jews in art -- Engraving -- Private collections -- England -- Juifs -- Judai¨sme -- Coutumes et pratiques -- Ouvrages illustre´s -- Catalogues. Juifs dans l'art – Art -- Private collections. OCLC: 8595174. Ex-library with marks on endpapers and title page. Spine label, wear to wrappers, clean inside. Good Condition. (ART-20-26).