[C. 1910s Large Photographic Portrait of Felix Adler, Reformer and Founder of the Ethical Culture Movement]
The Founder of the Ethical Culture Movement
A Large portrait photograph of Felix Adler at his desk, the Founder of the Ethical Culture Movement
Jewish-American immigrant, academic, and social reformer Felix Adler (1851–1933)founded the Ethical Culture Movement in 1877. That year he incorporated the Society for Ethical Culture in New York City.
Having just previously been deprived of a professorship at Cornell University for his innovative views on religion and ethics, Adler spent the rest of his life promulgating the idea that good works – not religious ritual or creed – were the basis of leading an ethical and moral life.
This impressive studio photographic portrait of Felix Adler shows him c. 1910s seated in a monumental Arts & Crafts-style highly carved chair at a matching desk. The photograph was made by the Pach Brothers’ Studio of New York.
The portrait of Adler shows him about the same age as in a 1914 oil on canvas painted by Douglas Volk (1856–1935), now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A modern ink inscription on the back of the photograph references that painting and Volk’s Maine artist colony, Hewnoaks. Volk was a teacher at Adler’s Society for Ethical Culture in New York.
The Society for Ethical Culture organized nursing care and kindergartens for the poor and working classes. The society also established the Ethical Culture Fieldstone School for which Adler served as rector until his death.
Felix Adler was a member of the New York State Tenement House Commission, founding chairman of the National Child Labor Committee, and a member of a bureau which was a forerunner to the American Civil Liberties Union. He was active in the American Philosophical Association and a board member of the National Urban League.
Description: [C. 1910s Large Photographic Portrait of Felix Adler, Reformer and Founder of the Ethical Culture Movement]
New York: Pach [Brothers], Windsor Arcade and 935 Broadway [c. 1910s]. Original photograph on dark gray studio mount. Image: 9¾ x 13¼ inches; overall, 16 x 19¾ inches. Studio mark stamped lower right. Decorative pencil margins drawn on mount around image. Old dampstaining to mat, slight rubbing to image, modern red ink inscription verso; overall very good.