Bernard Berenson: Living a Life Devoted to Great Art

9780300149425Bernard Berenson’s life is an inspiring story of a poor immigrant to America achieving great fame and fortune. A sensitive and articulate consumer of art, his incredible eye and his talent for engaging listeners in interpretations of artworks took him from his humble beginnings to a lavish lifestyle assisting Gilded Age millionaires in building their collections. Watch the trailer for Rachel Cohen‘s biography Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, shared below, for a window into Berenson’s life interpreting great art.

“With horror I think what I should have become if I had lived a life of an ill-paid professor or struggling writer, how rebellious if I had not lived a life devoted to great art. Worse still if I had remained in the all but proletariat condition I had lived in as a Jewish immigrant lad in Boston.”—Bernard Berenson

After his dramatic self-reinvention, Berenson felt a sense of alienation and loneliness that feels quite modern as rendered by Cohen. This contribution to Jewish Lives series uses new archival research to document Berenson’s navigation of anti-Semitism and the art world, and the inner toll his success took.

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