Archive for September 18, 2012

Artist of the moment…Theresa Ferber Bernstein….

The artist was born in 1890 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She wasn’t a fan of the movement of modern art, she was a strict realist. Bernstein stated that cubes and triangles were boring and didn’t have enough live in them to make them interesting enough for her to paint.

The artist reminds of the famous Galapagos island giant tortoise named Lonesome George. He was said to understand both english and old spanish languages. One must look at living as an art form as well, in order to survive we must constantly make changes. No one did this better than Theresa Bernstein. She was the ultimate fighter and always willing to change. She painted in a realist manner when no other woman was doing so. When her right hand was broken, she learned to paint with the left hand. When she couldn’t hold a brush, she painted by squeezing paint from tubes.  Upon reading this I thought of the artist Bernard Buffet. I wrote about him this past week and he was another highly accomplished and successful artist who developed Parkinsons, was unable to paint and hold the brush anymore, then he killed himself.

Bernstein’s greatest asset as an artist was that she never gave up no matter what obstacles were in her way.

For her education the artist was able to mentor along side such artists as Daniel Garber and Henry Snell at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. She then took classes at the Art Students League of New York where she studied under the great William Merritt Chase.

In 1912 after a trip to europe she settled down in Manhattan, New York. She married an artist named William Meyerowitz. He worked in a variety of mediums and genres from still lifes, to landscapes, abstracts, and portraits.  The couple lived in a rent controlled apartment just one block from Central Park West. The couple had a child that died during infancy. The couple didn’t have any more children.

Bernstein spent summers in New England where she made her famous beach paintings.

The couple didn’t have any children but were very close to their family.  The two helped to support careers in the music industry for their nieces Laura Nyro and Beverly DeAngelis. Nyro ended up to be a songwriter and DeAngelis attended Julliard in New York city and went on to be a songwriter, composer, and a piano and voice teacher in New York city and Atlanta, Georgia.

Bernstein passed away in 2002. At her time of death she was believed to be 111 years old but no concrete evidence such as a birth certificate exists to confirm the fact.

This artist inspires me not only for her style of painting and her attitude, but also for how long she lived.  To experience so many changes in life from radio to television to airplanes to the internet. Kind of amazing to think of all the innovations the artist saw. Despite all the changes in the art world and her husband who sometimes painted very abstractly, Bernstein was a lifelong realist. Even when it wasn’t en vogue, the artist painted what SHE wanted to.

High price range:  Oil painting titled “At the Opera” which sold for $60,000.

Low price range:  Some oil paintings sold at auction in 2011 for less than $1,000.  Etchings, watercolors, and monotypes are also available for less than $1,000.



Artist of the moment…….James Turrell

The artist was born in 1943 in Pasadena, California. His parents were both Quakers. His father was a space engineer, his mother was educated to be a doctor.

Turrell is a pioneer and is perhaps the most widely known artist working with light. He is widely known for his current and on going project the Roden Center. The center is a natural crater in the earth that he his making into an observatory. The crater is on property the artist owns just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.

A clip from a wonderful series done via PBS about artists called ART 21. In this series you can meet firsthand artists like Mark Bradford, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Louise Bourgouis. Turrell and his desert project were subject of this interview.

Another great interview with the artist whilst he was at a Moscow museum. Its in English with Russian subtitles. The artist talks about how and why his focus is actual light not the painting of light.

A project that opened in June of this year at Rice University called the Turrell Skyspace.

Though primarily a sculptor the artist used other mediums such as watercolor, pastels, etchings, glass, collage, pencil, and ink.

High price range:  Ink work for $180,000. Pencil for $57,000. Glass work for $56,000.

Low price range: Encuastic work for $15,000. Etchings can be found for less than one thousand dollars.

Turrell was able to get a pilots license at the age of sixteen. He was able to earn money by flying supplies to mines that were hard to get to. He earned a bachelors degree from Pomono College in psychology. Earned a masters degree from Claremont Graduate School.

The artist started working with light in 1966 and alongside Doug Wheeler and Robert Irwin the trio was known as the Light and Space group. With Sam Francis the artist made sky drawings.

The artist is also a quaker and designed a meeting with an opening in the roof to view light, the light has a religious meaning. Turrell has come to call these works SKYSCAPES. This is the type of work located at Rice University.  Turrell has built skyscape projects around the world in locations such as Spain and England.

Turrell has made works of art like one titled “Acton.” The viewer walks into the room and sees a blank canvas.  The viewer walks closer only to see that the canvas is not a canvas at all,  but rather a hole in the wall that is enhanced by the Turrell’s wonderful use of  light.

I enjoy this artist most for his ability to work on such large scale projects. After looking at tens of thousands of images where there is a subject and the artist must paint the affect of light on the subject, it was very new and interesting to see an artwork whose subject was light plain and simple.