Family Pictures:
Self-Portrayal among the Jewish Bourgeoisie (in German)

From the Series Testimonies from the Jewish Museum Berlin (in German)

The lively portrait of the Berlin merchant family of Moritz Manheimer, painted by Julius Moser in 1850 and featured on the cover of Inka Bertz’s book-length essay on artistic and cultural history, shows us an affectionate family of art enthusiasts. The portrait tells us a great deal about the self-image and the values of the Jewish bourgeoisie and embodies the tension between public self-portrayal and familial intimacy.

The image of the family is prototypical of the Biedermeier era. Foresters, clergymen, merchants, and artists, surrounded by their wives and children, gathered around to welcome the observer into their parlor. They put on a little play titled “Joyous Family Life.”

In a comparison to group portraits of other German-Jewish families, Inka Bertz, curator of fine art at the Jewish Museum Berlin, illustrates the family portrait's evolution and constancy into the modern age.


  • Familienbilder. Selbstdarstellung im jüdischen Bürgertum.
    Ein kunst- und kulturgeschichtlicher Essay von Inka Bertz zur Ausstellung Stil(l)halten. Familienbilder im jüdischen Bürgertum
    (Family Pictures: Self-Portrayal among the Jewish Bourgeoisie from the Series Testimonies from the Jewish Museum Berlin)
    128 pages with 50 color illustrations
    Köln 2004
    ISBN: 3-8321-7891-0
    In German only
  • Editor Jewish Museum Berlin
  • Design Groothuis, Lohfert, Consorten
  • Price 5 €

You can order this publication from a bookstore, or from the museum by contacting

Bavaroi Onlineshop

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