Russian sculptor; born at Riga April 20, 1859. At the age of thirteen he entered the studio of Prof. D. Jensen at Riga, and at fourteen the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, where he was awarded the highest prizes. In 1883 he made a number of busts of celebrated Russians, among them being those of Dostoyevski, Rubinstein, Fonvisin, and K. Brandt. This established his reputation as a portrait-sculptor, and within the next two years he made about thirty busts of various representatives of Russian art, science, and literature.

After a sojourn in Rome (in 1884), where he supported himself by making portraits from photographs, Bernstamm went to Florence, and there continued his studies under Professor Rivalti. At this time he exhibited in Rome his "Neapolitan Fisherman," "David," and "Head of a Monk," all of which received high commendation. In 1885 he settled in Paris, where he won the friendship of Dr. Labadie-Lagrave. He soon became famous by his sculpture-portraits of eminent Frenchmen, such as Renan, Sardou, Flaubert, Halévy, Coppée, Déroulède, Zola, and many others. In 1890 Bernstamm exhibited his works at the galleries of George Petit. The exhibition attracted considerable notice, and was visited by President Carnot. It consisted of a collection of charming statuettes, reproducing in an astonishing variety of costumes all foreigners that had come to Paris during the Exposition of 1889.

Since 1887 Bernstamm has exhibited every year at the salon of the Champs-Elysées, at which he has manifested his talent on a larger scale in such works as "Au Pilori," "The First Arrow," and "The Executioner of John the Baptist." In 1889 he wasawarded, by the jury of the Exposition, a silver medal for various groups and busts. He also produced "Floquet," a plaster cast; "La Modestie," a marble bust bought by Count Torelli, chamberlain of the king of Italy in 1891; "Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery" (1894); and "Jules Chéret," bronze bust (1895). In 1896 he was called to Tzarskoe-Selo to make busts from life of the emperor Nicholas II. and the empress of Russia. For the Exposition of 1900 he finished a group intended for the czar: "Peter the Great Embracing Louis XV." In 1901 he produced the statue of Rubinstein ordered by the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Some of his works were bought by Czar Alexander III. and some by the Italian government. Bernstamm was made chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1891.

  • Dictionnaire Biographique;
  • Bulgakov, Nashi Khudozhniki, vol. i., St. Petersburg, 1890; private sources.
H. R. J. G. L.
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