Theresa Bernstein, American Modernist

Theresa Bernstein, American Modernist

Opens at Cape Ann Historical Museum

The Cape Ann Historical Museum is delighted to host Theresa Bernstein, American Modernist this summer. Theresa Bernstein spent more than 75 years sharing her time between New York City and Gloucester. Bernstein (1890-2002) came of age as an artist in the early part of the 20th century, and as such, both witnessed and contributed to a critical period in American art history and the development of Cape Ann as an artist colony.

Bernstein was identified with the New York realists and later the Ashcan school because she shared the movement’s commitment to record contemporary urban subject matter. This recognition was no small achievement, when the art world was still resistant to women artists. It was, rather, early evidence of the strength and determination that would sustain her throughout her life.

Bernstein also reveled in the everyday life of Cape Ann, which she vigorously captured on canvas – the waterfront, the beaches, the gardens and festivals, all populated with local people. She and her husband, artist William Meyerowitz, were professionally and socially active in the Cape Ann community, and they certainly left their mark. They were members of artists’ circles on Rocky Neck and Folly Cove, and taught students from their Mount Pleasant Street home. Along with other summer and year-round artists, Bernstein entered her work in the early exhibits of the Gallery-on-the-Moors, the first established gallery for Cape Ann art. When the Gallery-on-the-Moors became the North Shore Arts Association in 1922, she participated in exhibits there and at the rival Gloucester Society of Artists.

The majority of paintings on exhibit will be from the Martin B. and Edith A. Stein collection of works of artist. They represent some of the best of Bernstein’s New York and Cape Ann paintings. Selected work by William Meyerowitz will be on exhibit in the small gallery adjacent to the Bernstein work. It has been twenty years since the Cape Ann Historical Museum has honored Theresa Bernstein with an exhibit. This summer is the perfect time for Cape Ann to renew her acquaintance.

The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Saturday, July 1 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The exhibit continues through September 10, 2006. A new publication, Theresa Bernstein, American Modernist (Miami-St. Ives Inc./Avanti), 116 pages, will be available in the Museum’s gift shop.

The Cape Ann Historical Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed during the month of February, on Mondays and on major holidays. Admission is $6.50 adults, $6.00 seniors, $4.50 students, children under 6 and Museum members are free. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, (978) 283-0455 or

Artwork credit: Theresa Bernstein, Folly Cove, 1921, oil on canvas, Martin B. and Edith A. Stein Collection