In the Elevated, 1916
Oil on canvas
30 by 40 inches
Signed and dated lower right
Philadelphia-born Bernstein received her first commission at age 13 — from the family doctor who asked for a portrait of his young niece. She received a scholarship to the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now the Moore College of Art) and in 1912 moved to New York and joined the Art Student’s League. Bernstein was part of a group of women artists called “the Philadelphia Ten,” or simply “the Ten.” Members of the group did not represent any particular style or subject but aimed at the practical goal of providing more venues for women artists’ work. Bernstein’s work was included in the group’s first exhibition in 1917, and she would continue as an active member until the group was dissolved in 1945.
In her memoir The Journal, Bernstein explained that the elevated train on Columbus Avenue was the inspiration for In the Elevated: “To get to the studio, I took the elevated train. Climb up, get in, study the people on the train, and get off around 57th Street.” The painting shows her mother in the foreground and her father reading a newspaper.