Aline Bernstein Saarinen
By Seymour "Sy" Brody
Aline Bernstein Saarinen was one of the nation's best known art and architecture critics, a television journalist and commentator and author.
She was born on March 25, 1914, in New York City, to Irma and Allen Milton Bernstein, who were both amateur painters. Her parents encouraged her interest and participation in artistic and cultural activities. Allen Bernstein was the head of an investment firm and he considered his family to be "high brow."
Aline graduated from the Fieldstone School in New York City in 193 1. She went to Vassar College where she took art courses and became interested in journalism. In her junior year, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, received a Vassar College Fellowship and graduated with an A.B. degree in 1935.
Following her graduation, she married Joseph H. Louchheim, a public welfare administrator, on June 17, 1935. In the same year she enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and graduated in 1941 with an A.M. degree in the history of architecture. While going to N.Y.U., she had two sons, Donald, in 1937, and Harry, in 1939.
In 1944, Aline Louchheim joined the staff of Arts News magazine in New York City and she was its managing editor from 1946 to 1948. The magazine sponsored a book, 5000 Years of Art: A Pictorial History, with commentary by Aline Louchheim. The press, including The New York Times, gave it excellent reviews.
In 1951, her marriage ended in divorce, It was the same year that she received The International Award for Best Foreign Criticism at the Venice Biennale. In 1953, she received the American Federation of Arts Award for best newspaper criticism. After interviewing Eero Saarinen, the noted Finnish-born architect, they were attracted to each other and were married in 1954.
She became the associate art editor and critic at The New York Times from 1948 to 1953 and associate art critic from 1954 to 1958. She also published a number of articles on art and cultural trends for The New Times magazine and other major magazines.
Her vears with Eero Saarinen were happy and productive. They had a son Eames, named for the designer Charles Eames, December, 1954. She received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1957, and she wrote The Proud Possessors, a biographical study of major American art collectors. It became a best seller and Aline became a public personality.
In 1962, she started her third career in television at age fifty. She was invited to appear on television to discuss art. She was an immediate success and she made documentaries such as The Art of Collecting for NBC. In 1964, she became the third woman correspondent for NBC News and she was the moderator of For Women Only show. In this program she dealt with the sensitive issues of abortion and birth control.
She was named to become chief of the NBC's Paris News Bureau in 1971. She was the first woman to become the head of an overseas news bureau. She held this position until her death on July 13, 1972.
Aline Saarinen demonstrated in her writings about art and architecture that it can be interesting, exciting and understandable for the public to read. Her success and fame was built on this style of writing.
This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism included in Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America : 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.
Source: Jewish Heroes and Heroines in America.