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Fish is the favored food for the kosher table, Eastern Europe

Date ca. 1935-38
Location Eastern Europe
Dimensions Image (paper): 11 1/2 x 9 3/16 in. (29.2 x 23.3 cm)
Mount: 19 1/2 x 13 3/4 in. (49.5 x 34.9 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

These rare vintage prints are part of a collection of sixteen recently discovered prints that comprised Vishniac’s first exhibition abroad, and were displayed in the New York office of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in 1938. Vishniac developed these early prints in his apartment in Berlin, and they are rare early examples of his virtuosic skill as a master printmaker. He gifted all sixteen prints to an employee of the New York office of the JDC who had helped him to organize his first exhibit; these prints are on loan from his son.
The image of a boy bending over a vat of herring communicates the excitement of the marketplace and the sheer abundance of herring. The unparalleled quality of the print transmits every detail, from the wet cobblestones and circular motion of the swimming fish to the rapid, eager movement of hands reaching in to grab the herring. Rather than focusing on religious life, these early prints demonstrate the vitality and frantic charm of a town rushing to prepare for the Sabbath.


© Mara Vishniac Kohn

Credit line

Collection Philip Allen

Feedback Accession No. E.L.2013.1.3