Commissioned for the Rotary Club of Chicago, the number one and founding club for the prestigious institution which had its beginning on February 23, 1905. At the Chicago Rotary Club, Paul P. Harris founded the exclusive club in Chicago and oversaw the murals commission and simultaneously his own portrait commission by fellow Tree Studios art colony member John Doctoroff (1893-1970), also painted in 1931. Titled HE PROFITS MOST WHO SERVES BEST to signify that service to ones community is always held to the highest level of importance and that the profits one earns is based on the good given to the community. Grell painted the two men as identical twins and is similar to the companion to the large mural currently inside the Lift For Life Academy in St. Louis, MO originally Manufacturers Bank & Trust, 1947 where he depicts triplets holding the ‘wheel of progress.’ The Service Above Self 1928 mural study may be a prototype for this commission and establishes the fundamental quality of the Rotarians. Credit, Man’s Confidence in Man mural from 1939 is provided as a comparison mural. The founding Rotary Club used the mural on its letterhead from 1931 to at least 1944. See copies of letters included.
Paul P. Harris and John Doctoroff have fun by reversing roles. Another Tree Studios artist, Paul Trebilcock (1902-1981) painted a second portrait of Harris in c1938 commissioned by the University of Iowa.
Stay tuned for a big announcement on where this mural may end up on public exhibit.
Published in the June 19, 2018 issue of Rotary One’s Gyrator issue on page 4.
HE PROFITS MOST WHO SERVES BEST, 1931 oil on canvas 37.5″ x 99″
Photos and additional information courtesy of Chicago Rotary Club archives and David Phelps. Color images of WHO SERVES BEST courtesy of Carolyn (GRELL) Kintz.