Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Book Review - Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art
About the Book
The American artist Theresa Ferber Bernstein (1890–2002) made and exhibited her work in every decade of the twentieth century. This authoritative book about Bernstein provides an overview of her life and artistic career, examining her relationships with contemporary artists.
Bernstein’s work is noteworthy, even among her more famous male contemporaries such as John Sloan, Stuart Davis, and Edward Hopper, all of whom she knew. Working in realist and expressionist styles, she treated the major subjects of her time, including the fight for women’s suffrage, the plight of immigrants, World War I, jazz, unemployment, racial discrimination, and occasionally explicitly Jewish themes such as a synagogue interior or ritual objects such as a menorah. She was a member of the American Artists’ Congress and painted a mural for the U.S. government during the Great Depression.
Bernstein’s portrait subjects include Albert Einstein, Martha Graham, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Lil Hardin, and Billie Holiday, yet it is her particular sensibility and empathy with those subjects that set her apart from her mostly male contemporaries.
Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art includes thematic essays by Michele Cohen, Patricia M. Burnham, Elsie Heung, Sarah Archino, Stephanie Hackett, Gillian Pistell, and by the editor, Gail Levin. It features more than two hundred images, including full-color reproductions of her art and rare documentary photographs, many published here for the first time. It also includes a detailed chronology of Bernstein’s life, a list of public collections, and a list of her writings.
About the Author
Gail Levin is Distinguished Professor of Art History, American Studies, and Women’s Studies at the Graduate Center and Baruch College of the City University of New York. She is the author of several books, including Lee Krasner: A Biography, Becoming Judy Chicago: A Biography of the Artist, and Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography.
My Take on the Book
I was not familiar with this artist, but after seeing the beautiful art enclosed within the pages of this book, it makes me want to see and experience more of her art. This book is a well constructed book that really documents the art and life of this artist and I have to say that they did a great job. While I am not an expert I am an art aficionado and this realist painter is one that any lover of art should get to know if they have not yet. For me, my favorite art pieces are probably her landscapes, but she also has some amazing still life pieces as well. All in all you will learn a ton through reading this book about this artist and if you are like me, you will come out wanting to see and learn more!
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