Bernstein, Theresa Ferber – American Artist

Theresa Ferber Bernstein (American, 1890-2002)

Although she studied art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women in her native Philadelphia, it was after her move to New York with her parents in 1911 that Theresa Bernstein really blossomed as an artist. She briefly attended classes at the Art Students League under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase and twice went to Europe to explore some of the day’s most important modern artists including Robert Henri, Munch, and Kandinsky. When she returned to New York, she began to explore everyday life in the city as translated through color, movement, and line rather than extreme detail. She was a member of the National Association of Women Arts, North Shore Arts Association, Rockport Art Association, and the Philadelphia Ten (Note: The Philadelphia Ten was a unique and progressive group of women painters and sculptors who broke the rules of society and the art world by working and exhibiting together. Their work included both urban and rural landscapes, portraiture, still life, and a variety of representational and myth-inspired sculpture, 1917 – 1945, among others, and was said to have had over fifty solo exhibitions over the course of her career. (Reference: Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pa.)
Information courtesy of Skinner, Inc., November 2002.

Theresa Bernstein was born in Philadelphia in 1890, and studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she graduated with an award for General Achievment. She moved to New York City in 1911 to study with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League. Ms. Bernstein was founder and one of the members of “The Philadelphia Ten”, collection of women artists and sculptors was formed in response to the male dominance in the art world. During her career she wrote six books. The latest, a children’s book entitled Rabbitville, a collection of her illustrations.

She had more than 50 one-woman shows from 1921 to 1998. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Chicago Art Institute; Butler Institute of American Art; Dallas museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Harvard University; Whitney Museum of American Art; Boston Public Library and N.Y. Historical Society. Theresa Bernstein died on February 12, 2002, at the age of 111. She was possibly the oldest living artist in America. Her career spanned 80 years.
Reference note by p4A editorial staff.

About This Site

Internet Antique Gazette is brought to you by Prices4Antiques.