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.



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