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Rita Bernstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, and following a career as a civil rights attorney, she has been a working artist in several genres for many years.  She was most recently awarded a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  She has also received a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Barnard College of Columbia University; a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School; and a post-Baccalaureate degree from PAFA.


Her work is represented by KlompChing Gallery (Brooklyn) and Catherine Couturier Gallery (Houston).  Her pictures are in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; and the Woodmere Art Museum.  Her work has been widely exhibited, including at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Griffin Museum; the Noyes Museum of Art; Fleisher Art Memorial; the University of Pennsylvania; Moore College of Art and Design; and the University of the Arts. 


Bernstein was selected for the prestigious Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Exhibition (now known as the Wind Challenge) and has also been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the Independence Foundation; the Leeway Foundation; and the Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in many publications, including the New York Times; Forbes; the Photo Review; the Boston Globe; the Philadelphia Inquirer; Black and White Magazine; and Lenswork, among others. 


Rita Bernstein lives and works in Philadelphia and New York.




Gross McCleaf Gallery (Philadelphia, PA) 

KlompChing Gallery (Brooklyn, NY)

Catherine Couturier Gallery (Houston, TX)



Selected Exhibitions


CFEVA Gallery, Philadelphia, Felicity (“Bebe”) Benoliel Gallery, “Along the Nerve” (Solo Exhibition), 2023.

Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, “Touched,” (Solo Exhibition), June 2022.

Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, “Fragile Fold Follow Hold” (Two Person Exhibition), 2022.

Works on Paper Gallery, Philadelphia, “The Codex Project: Year 3,” 2022.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Pictures in Pictures”, 2022.

Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, “PAFA Fellowship Exhibition,” 2021.

Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, “It is Here, It is Now, I am,” 2019.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Historic Landmark Building, “Beyond Boundaries: Feminine Forms,” 2017-2018.

Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg, PA (Solo Exhibition), “Consequences: Photographs by Rita Bernstein,” 2016.

Gallery 339, Philadelphia, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” 2015.

Rox Gallery, New York, NY, “Robert Doisneau with Rita Bernstein, Julian Darwall, and Emily Hope,” 2014.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Historic Landmark Building, “The Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women,” (curated and catalog edited by Robert Cozzolino, Curator of Modern Art, PAFA), 2012-2013.

Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY, “PhotoEncaustics,” 2013.

Griffin Museum, Winchester, MA (Solo Exhibition), “Undertow,” 2012.

Catherine Couturier Gallery, Houston, TX (Solo Exhibition), “Out of Place, ”2012.

KlompChing Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, “Art Fair,” 2011.

Gallery 339, Philadelphia, “About Face,” 2011.

Gallery 339, Philadelphia (Solo Exhibition), “Ghost of Summer,” 2010.

Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY (Solo Exhibition), “Undertow,” 2010.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, “Remembering John Cleary,” 2009.

Gallery 339, Philadelphia, “Personal Views: Contemporary Photographic Portraiture,” 2009.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Emerging to Established,” 2008.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Summer Vacation:  Photographs from the Collection,” 2006.

Open Lens Gallery, Philadelphia, “Growing Up Girl:  Photography by Rita Bernstein, Ellie Brown, and Jeff Hurwitz,” 2006.    

The Felicity R. “Bebe” Benoliel Gallery, Philadelphia (Solo Exhibition), “Past Perfect,” 2006.

New York University, Kimmel Center Gallery, New York (Solo Exhibition), “Fragile: Do Not Bend,” 2005.

University of the Arts, Gallery 1401, Philadelphia (Solo Exhibition), “Homesick,” 2003.

University of Pennsylvania, Burrison Art Gallery (Solo Exhibition), “Picture Stories,” 2003.

Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Exhibition, Philadelphia (Solo Exhibition), 2002.

Open Lens Gallery, Philadelphia, “Perspectives in Portraiture:  Photographs by Rita Bernstein, Larry Fink, Judy Gelles, and Michael Smith,” 2002.

Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ, “Kinship: Prints by Rita Bernstein and Judith Brodsky,” 2001.

The Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, NJ (Solo Exhibition), “Friends and Families: Photographs by Rita Bernstein,” 1999.                     

Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia (Solo Exhibition), 1998.

Philadelphia Art Alliance, “SIX (The Work of Six Contemporary Women Artists),” 1998.



Selected Honors


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Deena Gu Watercolor Purchase Prize, 2019.

The Print Center 92nd Annual Competition, Michener Art Museum Photography Patrons Circle Purchase Prize, 2018.

The Print Center 92nd Annual Competition, Fish/Pearce Award, 2018.

Fleisher Art Memorial, 116th Annual Competition, First Prize – Works on Paper, 2016.                                        

Photo Review International Competition, Honorable Mention (Brian Paul Clamp, juror), 2010.

Woodmere Art Museum, Purchase Prize, Perkins Center for the Arts, “Photography 28 Exhibition,” 2009.

Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, 2005.

Artist in Residence, Girard College (Philadelphia), 2005-06.

The Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize, Semi-Finalist, 2004.

Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Artist, 2001-2002.

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Visual Arts Fellowship in Photography, 1996-97.

Joseph S. Wohl Memorial Award, Main Line Art Center, “The Power of Paper Exhibition”, 1997.

Leeway Foundation, Honorable Mention Award, 1996.



Selected Bibliography

Forbes, Surprising Career Encore for Successful Civil Rights Attorney, September 10, 2019.

The Female Gaze:  Women Artists Making Their World, edited by Robert Cozzolino, published by The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 2012.

The Boston Globe, Identity in the Spotlight at the Griffin Museum, October 6, 2012.

BW Gallerist, On Site: Best of 2012 AIPAD Show, New York, NY, March 30, 2012.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Galleries: Photographers Reveal What's In a Face - And in Their Heads, July 31, 2011.

LensWork Extended, Rita Bernstein: The Psychological Landscape, #95, July-August, 2011.

Diffusion Magazine, Spotlight: Rita Bernstein, Volume III, 2011.

BW Gallerist, On Site: Rita Bernstein Ghost of Summer, Gallery 339, Philadelphia, November 29, 2010.

Photo District News, 2009 PhotoLucida Reviewers Discuss Their Favorite Portfolios, May 7, 2009..

Black and White Magazine, Portfolio, including Cover Image, August 2006.

Pinhole Journal, Vol.21, No.3, Contemporary Images 14, December 2005.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rita Bernstein: Young Homebodies, July 18, 2003.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Faces of Portraiture, March 7, 2003.

Photovision Magazine, Luck and Magic: Photographs of Rita Bernstein, July/August 2002.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rita Bernstein: Faces of Childhood, February 22, 2002.

Shots Magazine, A Few Thoughts on the Work of Rita Bernstein, Gina Kelly, and Linda Smogor by Jock Sturges, September 2000.

The Photo Review, Rita Bernstein, Photographs: Friends and Families, Spring 1999.

The New York Times, Up-to-the-Minute Show With Echoes of the Past, February 14, 1999.

The New York Times, Sensibilities of Childhood Without the Sentimentality, January 24, 1999.        





The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

University of Michigan Museum of Art

Woodmere Art Museum

Johnson and Johnson World Headquarters Corporate Collection

Honickman Family Collection





Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Post-Baccalaureate Degree

University of Pennsylvania Law School, Juris Doctor

Barnard College, Columbia University, Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa

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