Theresa Bernstein


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Painter and printmaker. Known primarily for scenes of urban life, she also painted portraits as well as beach activities observed near her longtime summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Born in Philadelphia, she attended lectures at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design), where she studied with Elliott Daingerfield, Daniel Garber, and Harriet Sartain. After moving permanently to New York in 1912, she worked briefly at the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase. On visits to Europe she encountered expressionist work that influenced her emotionally charged realism. In 1919 she married painter and printmaker William Meyerowitz (1887–1981), who had arrived in New York from Russian Ukraine in 1908 and trained at the National Academy of Design. His work incorporated both straightforward realism and more modern approaches indebted to Cézanne and cubism. Bernstein's characteristic work continued the vigorous realism promoted by Robert Henri and the Ashcan painters. Although committed, as they were, to recording everyday life, in her handling of space she sometimes referred to Cézanne's innovations, and she often introduced unnaturally bright hues. In the 1930s she was active in the American Artists' Congress, although her work did not directly address social issues. Bernstein's reputation languished during the 1950s and for some time afterward, but she had been rediscovered long before her demise at the age of 111. After Meyerowitz's death, she published a book about his art, followed late in life by three volumes related to her own work. She also wrote poetry.

Subjects: Art.

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