Best known for his watercolors of sailing yachts executed in a crisp Precisionist style, Sandor Bernath was born in Hungary and lived in Budapest before immigrating to New York. By 1918, he had begun to establish himself in the art life of the city. Although slightly younger than Edward Hopper and the Precisionist painters Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth, Bernath adopted both their aesthetic and subject matter. He made his professional debut in 1922 with a solo show at Mrs. Malcolm’s Gallery on East Sixty-fourth Street. The exhibition of nineteen watercolors included both New York and European subjects, indicating that Bernath had spent time abroad. In 1923, he turned his attention to seascapes of the New England coastline. During the twenties, he became a member of the New York Water Color Club, American Water Color Society, and Brooklyn Society of Modern Artists, and exhibited at the Whitney Museum and Art Institute of Chicago. Like many of his peers, Bernath worked as a teacher and illustrator to support himself. In the late 1920s, he moved to Eastport, Maine, where he continued to live until at least 1945. According to one source, he spent the last years of his life in South America and died in Belize in 1984.
While Eastport remained his primary residence, Bernath visited and painted in a number of American art colonies—including Provincetown on Cape Cod—producing streetscapes and architectural views reminiscent of Hopper. In 1935, he traveled to Taos, New Mexico and painted the church at Rancho de Taos, as well as a pink adobe structure surrounded by desert blooms. Bernath visited Charleston in 1937. Like many artists, including Hopper, he was drawn to its rural cabins, moss-hung trees, historic churches, and Civil War monuments.
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