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William Meyerowitz   Click Images to Enlarge

William Meyerowitz
Gloucester, 1927
Oil on canvas
21 x 27 in.
William Meyerowitz

(American, 1887-1981)

William Meyerowitz and his wife Theresa Bernstein were active post-impressionists in Gloucester and New York City. Meyerowitz was a painter and an etcher who was born in Russia and emigrated with his family to New York City in 1908. He studied at the National Academy of Design from 1912-1916 (where he won the Eliot Medal and the 1st honorable mention of the Prix de Rome) and to help support his schooling he was a choir member at the Metropolitan Opera, became a life long friend of Isaac Stern and a lyrical quality entered his work, probably because of his love for music. By 1923 he was given a solo-exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's U.S. National Museum. After marrying painter Theresa Bernstein, the couple moved to Rocky Neck, East Gloucester and lived at the Little House and taught painting at the Hawthorne House.

Ellen Day Hale invited Meyerowitz and Bernstein to use her etching press in Folly Cove, and Meyerowitz became as famous for colored etchings as he did for paintings of Rockport, Gloucester, New York City, musicians and street scenes. In 1921, Aldro Hibbard asked Meyerowitz to become a juror for the first Rockport Art Association exhibition in August. In 1925, he was the featured etcher in the Fox Film Company’s film "The Magic Needle," about etchers. Meyerowitz & Bernstein bought a home on Mt. Pleasant Avenue in Gloucester and maintain a 57th Street apartment (where Raphael Soyer resided) in Manhattan. During the summers Meyerowitz painted the wharf, harbor and fishermen and taught with Theresa in their Summer Art Course. Meyerowitz was a charter member of the North Shore Art Association and was its Director several times.

During the Great Depression, Meyerowitz painted murals in Connecticut post offices as a part of the WPA Federal Arts Program and he was active in politics, economics and religious issues throughout his life. From 1940-1945 he taught painting and etching at the Modern School of Self-Expression in the Bronx.

Meyerowitz was an Academician of the National Academy (1943), founding member of the North Shore AA (director); Rockport Art Association; helped found People's Art Guild with Robert Henri & George Bellows and other associations. He won many medals including Layton Prize, Audubon Society of Artists; Speyer Prize (NAD); Library of Congress Prize; Grumbacher Purchase Prize, Audubon Soc. of Artists; Gold Medals at the Rockport AA (1970, 1978), Gold Medal at the Italian Academy of Art, Parma (1980), the title of Academico D'Europa at the International Exhibition at the Palazzo, Parma, Italy (1983); Gold Medal, Academy of Rome. He painted and etched portraits of Justices Holmes, Brandeis, Cardozo, Black, Stone, Roberts, Frankfurter, Douglas, Chief Justice Hughes, Professor Albert Einstein, and painted Senator Jacob Javits and others.

Meyerowitz loved music and went to Harlem's jazz clubs with Stuart Davis and hung with Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth, John Sloan, Jan Matulka, Mark Rothko, Marsden Hartley, Oscar Blemner and William Glackens. His work is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum; Dayton Art Institute; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Carnegie Institute; National Academy of Arts & Letters; Detroit Institute; National Academy of Design; Harvard University, Library of Congress, Speed Memorial Museum, Jewish Museum (NY), Albany Institute, Bibliotheque Nationale, and more. He died in New York City in May, 1981.


References: New York Themes, Paintings and Prints by William Meyerowitz & Theresa Bernstein, The NY Historical Society, 1984; William Meyerowitz New England Paintings & Etchings, Rockport AA, 1983; William Meyerowitz¸Summit Gallery 1981; William Meyerowitz, Modernist, American Art Review, Vol XIII, no. 1, 2001