His paternal grandparents were German Jews, who had converted to Orthodox Christianity, and his maternal grandparents are thought to have been Swedes.
Mikhail Osipovich Eisenstein was born in 1867 in St. Petersburg. He was a Russian architect and civil engineer of Baltic German descent. His paternal grandparents were German Jews, who had converted to Orthodox Christianity, and his maternal grandparents are thought to have been Swedes. He graduated from the Institute of Civic Engineering in St. Petersburg in 1893. He was the designer of a number of Art Nouveau buildings in Riga (modern-day Latvia). He built several apartment buildings for State Counsellor A. Lebedinsky, including the ones at Alberta street 4 (1904), 6 (1903) and 13, and at Elizabetes street 10b (1903). His projects were characterized by decorative, odd-shaped windows, often with large female head shapes, bright glazed brick or ceramic plates, glass and metal tiles. In Riga, he projected 19 houses, radically contradicting the style of the strict classicism accepted in those times.
When the Russian Revolution occured Mikhail Eisenstein emigrated to Berlin, where he died in 1921 of a heart attack, aged 54. He lies buried at Berlin-Tegel Russian-Orthodox cemetery.
His son Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein became a well-known Soviet film director.