Born in Philadelphia in 1890, Bernstein was quite possibly the oldest living artist in the United States until her death in 2002 at the age of 111. She attended the Philadelphia School of Design for Women in 1911 and shortly afterwards moved to New York where she studied for a year with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League. She was greatly influenced by Robert Henri and other "ashcan" painters, such as Stuart Davis and Everett Shinn.
A tireless exhibitor, Bernstein has participated in many shows, including one-person shows in New York at the Museum of the City of New York and Grand Central Galleries. As a member of the Philadelphia Ten, she was included in group shows at the National Academy of Design, National Association of Women Artists and the Allied Artists of America.