Painter and draughtsman Arno (Arnold) Stern was born into a Jewish family in Łódź, then in the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire (now Poland) in 1888. He studied at the Art Academy of Warsaw, and later lived in Paris, France, where he worked with the French painter Louis-Marie Désiré-Lucas. After Stern’s marriage to Clara Speckel-Testa and the birth of their daughter, he spent several years with his family in Rome, Italy, and then, after his divorce from Clara, moved to England, settling in London. Probably during this period, three of his works were acquired by the Ben Uri for its collection, included in the inaugural exhibition at its first gallery premises in Museum Street in London in 1925, and listed in the catalogue. Stern’s Head of a Woman was subsequently loaned by Ben Uri to the important Jewish Art and Antiquities exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1927 but by this date he he had already been living in Belgium for four years, where he exhibited frequently alongside Flemish Expressionist Constant Permeke. Following the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940, Stern fled to Toulouse, France, where he spent the war years, afterwards returning to Italy, where he spent his final years.

Arno Stern died in Rome, Italy in 1949. His work is held in the UK in the Ben Uri Collection.