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    Description

    Theresa Bernstein (American, 1890-2002)
    Joy of Life, 1920
    Oil on canvas
    20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 61.0 cm)
    Signed and dated lower right: T. Bernstein - 20

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    Joan Whalen Fine Art, New York;
    Martin B. and Edith A. Stein, acquired from the above;
    Gift to the present owner from the above.

    EXHIBITED:
    Joan Whalen Fine Art, New York, "Theresa Bernstein (1890-): An Early Modernist," April 25-June 10, 2000;
    Boca Raton Museum of Art, "Theresa Bernstein--An Early Modernist: Paintings from the Martin B. and Edith A. Stein Collection," Boca Raton, Florida, 2003.

    LITERATURE:
    Joan Whalen Fine Art, Theresa Bernstein (1890-): An Early Modernist, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2000, p. 32, no. 12, illustrated as the cover;
    Boca Raton Museum of Art, Theresa Bernstein--An Early Modernist: Paintings from the Martin B. and Edith A. Stein Collection, exhibition catalogue, Boca Raton, Florida, 2003, pp. 14, 31, fig. 11, illustrated.

    Theresa Bernstein was a pioneer during the time of the genesis of Modernism in America, and was one of the few women artists at the heart of the avant-garde from the moment she arrived in New York from Philadelphia in 1912. A friend of artists William Zorach, Georgia O'Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz and Charles Demuth, "Bernstein's technical ability, command of color, and commitment to populist subjects aligned her with the radical Ashcan school early in the 20th century. She helped found the Philadelphia Ten in 1917, and by the 1920s and 30s was winning national prizes for her Modernist realism emphasizing everyday people and contemporary urban life" (W.M. Blazer, Theresa Bernstein-An Early Modernist: Paintings from the Martin B. and Edith A. Stein Collection, Boca Raton, Florida, 2003, p. 4).

    Over seven decades, Bernstein faithfully chronicled her unique vision of her beloved New York City as well as Gloucester, Massachusetts, that was first applauded as early as 1990 when she enjoyed a one-person exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. Since then, her work is represented in the permanent collections of countless museums and exhibitions including the two-year traveling exhibition The Philadelphia Ten: A Women's Artist Group 1917-1945, 1998-1999; the Brigham Young University Museum of Art exhibition: Thoroughly Modern - The "New Women" - Art Students of Robert Henri, 2005; the Demuth Museum, Lancaster, Pennsylvania exhibition Philadelphia Ten on the Road: The Rotary Exhibit, 2008; and the Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico exhibition, Sensory Crossover: Synesthesia in American Art, 2010.

    The subject of the present work is an intensely personal one. Like Henri Matisse and Andre Derain before her, Theresa Bernstein was indebted to Nicolas Poussin's Bacchanalian Scene (c.1636) for the circle of children dancing in Joy of Life. The painting is a paean to life, summing up Bernstein's thoughts and work. The painting is a tragic icon. After it was completed, Bernstein was shattered by the death of her only child, a baby girl, who died of pneumonia. She painted over the fisherman who had originally appeared at the right side of the painting replacing him with a figure of the grim reaper, her only public expression of grief.


    Condition Report*: Minor frame wear along the extreme edges of the canvas; several small specks of in-paint to the lower center of the canvas; longer streaks, approximate 2-3 inches, of in-paint to the center left edge; three circular areas of in-paint to the upper left edge.
    Framed Dimensions 26.5 X 30.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 524

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