Sarah Berman was born in the Ukraine, in 1895 as Sarah Ostrowsky. She emigrated to New York when she was a girl. While making a living in sweatshops she taught herself how to paint.
In New York she met and married the Yiddish poet, Levi Berman. They lived in an apartment in the Union Square area.
Because she had almost no formal training in art, her works were considered "primitive" in style, yet they often had a sophisticated quality to them.
In the Joseph Mitchell's book, Joe Gould's Secret, she and her art work are described as follows: "Although her paintings were awkward, they were imaginative and they had a hallucinatory quality, and (sic) they had been admired and widely praised
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