Adler was born near Lodz in Poland in 1895, the eighth of ten children, to devout Jewish parents. He moved to Germany in 1913 where he established himself as a significant force in the German art world of the 1920s, participating in every important Expressionist show. He befriended Otto Dix and Paul Klee, with whom he taught at the Düsseldorf Academy and shared a studio. Adler's successful German period was cut short in 1933 with the rise to power of the Nazi party. As a member of radical groups and a Jew, he was a prime target. He fled to France and later to Poland. His work was declared degenerate and removed from museum collections, and was included in the notorious 1937 Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition organised by the Nazi regime. He returned to France in 1937 and lived there until he joined the free Polish Army in 1940, and retreated with its forces to Scotland. Having spent the first part of the Second World War in Glasgow, in 1942 Adler moved to London, where he once again was in the centre of a lively artistic scene, part of an influx of artists who had fled the continent and who had a strong influence on young British artists.
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