As an aid to its emergency appeal for $2,071,000 needed to complete a budget of $3,655,000, the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies yesterday opened an art exhibit which presents a visual dramatization of the work of its ninety-one institutions.
Under the auspices of its women’s division, the more than seventy photographs and sketches contributed by some of America’s leading photographers and illustrators were previewed yesterday afternoon from 2 to 4 o’clock at the John Levy Galleries, 1 East Fifty-seventh street.
Some of the artists whose works are on display appeared at the exhibition, which will continue until Friday. Among those present were Herbert Pels, Remie Lohse, Dr. Arnold Genthe, Lusha Nelson and Dr. Maximilian Toch, photographers, and Boris Deutsch, painter.
TELL VIVID STORY
The pictures, displayed in the one room which houses the exhibit, present the workings of the Federation in a manner impossible to any other technique. The dry but startling figures of the Federation’s manifold activities are expressed in terms of human interest.
Edward J. Steichen and Margaret Bourke-White, in their camera studies, have caught the dignity and humility of some of the men living in the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews.
In Lusha Nelson’s photograph, “In Place of Mother,” a group of children are gathered around a young matron. The scene was taken in one of Federation’s seventeen child care institutions, of which the Brightside Day Nursery and Kindergarten and the Jane El-kus Home are examples.
Two other photographs by Miss Nelson, “Operation” and “Crisis,” suggest the work accomplished in hospitals supported by Federation. They are Mount Sinai, Lebanon, Hospital for Joint Diseases, Beth Israel, Jewish Maternity Hospital and the Montefiore Hospital for Chronic Diseases. Companion pieces are Nelson’s “Pain,” “Suffering,” and “Convalescence.”
DEPICT OTHER PHASES
Dr. Genthe, Lohse, Pels, Dr. Toch, Lena G. Towsley and Edouard Benito illustrate other phases of the Federation’s child care institutions and its two organizations devoted to care and education of handicapped persons.
Dr. Genthe photographed children representative of types he met in Federation homes. Lohse, in “Two in a Clinic,” “Tough Break,” “Casualties,” “Handicapped,” and “Waiting,” visualized the work done to care for and re-orientate crippled children. Pels viewed the more normal child and showed him learning arts and crafts in “Craftsman.” He showed the Heifetz of the future in “Practice Hour.”
In a similar vein Dr. Toch, the only amateur photographer exhibited, contributed a group of five pictures of students of art. Miss Towsley, in graphic photos, illustrated other aspects of child care in “That Was Good,” “Not Spinach,” and “I’ll Fix It.”
A striking group of still subjects by H. I. Williams are illustrative of the Federation’s enormous food bill each year. “Fish,” “Flour,” “Pie for Supper!”, “Sabbath Loaves” are the descriptive titles of his exhibits.
Williams’ photographs, when set beside statistical tables of rising costs, explain why the Federation this year needs over two million dollars to balance its budget.
The Federation’s annual recurring income in 1934 amounted to $1,184,000, while in 1929 it totaled $4,062,196. The organization’s reserve, according to its officers, disappeared in 1931, after $327,962 had been spent from it that year and $258,786 in the previous year to meet expenses.
Contributions of illustrators to the exhibit include Boris Deutsch’s powerful ‘Portrait of an Old Man.” More in the magazine and billboard style are McClelland Barclay’s “Grandmother,” Benito’s “Nurse and Child,” Howard Chandler Christy’s “Sage,” James Montgomery Flagg’s “Adolescence” and E. R. Schabelitz’ “Nurse.”
Christy’s “Sage,” an old, bearded Jew done in grays, contrasts strikingly in technique with Deutsch’s “Portrait of An Old Man.” The latter is the typical ghetto figure as seen by the Jewish artist with a deep racial background. Christy’s illustration, on the other hand, presents a similar old man through the objective eyes of the non-Jew.
The exhibit is admirable from an artistic standpoint, but it is more significant in its dramatic presentation of the Federation’s activities.
Mrs. Lewis L. Strauss is chairman of the art committee of the women’s division of the Federation, which is sponsoring the exhibit. Mrs. Sidney C. Borg is chairman of the women’s division and Mrs. Joseph Brettauer, chairman of the women’s division campaign.