Karl Theodore Bitter (American (born Austria), Vienna 1867–1915 New York)
Limestone, oak, and walnut
47 1/2" h. (120.7 cm.) (horizontal portion of choir rail)
Rogers Fund, 1978
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700
The Austrian-born Bitter was one of the foremost architectural sculptors working in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. This pulpit and choir rail from New York’s All Angels’ Church (demolished 1978) were commissioned by Sarah R. Cornell in memory of her husband and two sons and unveiled on All Saints’ Day (November 1), 1900. Angels carved in high relief, playing musical instruments or carrying appropriate attributes, dramatically twist and turn as they move across the balustrade. Above the pulpit, in an apotheosis of the joyous processional theme below, a large trumpeting angel appears. Supporting the column is a partial figure of Moses holding the tablets of the Law.
Signature: [lower corner, far right end of choir rail]: KARL.BITTER INV. ET.SC
Inscription: [on masonry beneath stairway ascending to pulpit]: THIS PULPIT / WAS PRESENTED TO ALL ANGELS' CHURCH / ON ALL SAINTS DAY, 1900, BY SARAH R. CORNELL / FOR THE GREATER GLORY / OF GOD / AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF / HER HUSBAND AND TWO SONS (on four small horizontal tablets under pulpit, left to right) ALL S.S./ MCM/ / THOS .W. CORNELL. / IN MEM / ALBERT CORNELL // FRANK A CORNELL