David Shterenberg was born in 1881 in Zhitomir (Ukraine). He takes art lessons in Odessa, and later travels to Paris (1906-1912), meets van Dongen and discovers Cézanne and Cubism. Shterenberg returns to Russia after the Revolution (1917). He is appointed in 1918 as Director of the Fine Arts Department of the People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment. That same year he publishes his essay “Tasks of Contemporary Art”, and exposes with Baranoff-Rossine, Lissitzky and other Jewish artists members of the group Jewish Society for the Furthering of the Arts. He executes several series of still life works entitled “Tables” that may be characterized as a principal cycle of his creative activity at the time. He strives to reach an ideal expression of contemporary human life substituting the situation of great misery by a minimalist image of severe sterility. Between1920-1930 he teaches at Vkhutemas (Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops in Moscow).
In 1922 Shterenberg is in charge of the First Russian Art Exhibition held at Galerie van Diemen (Berlin). He participates in an exhibition of Jewish artists in Moscow. He is also in charge of the Soviet section at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925 (Paris). In 1920-1930 Shterenberg teaches at VKhUTEMAS (Soviet School of Art & Architecture) in Moscow. Like many of his contemporaries, Shterenberg is obliged to turn to a more “realistic” style. His independent style does not please the Soviet authorities and his work is withdrawn from public view. He dies in Moscow in 1948.