Assistant Professor of Material & Visual Culture
, Art and Design History and Theory
Freyja Hartzell is Assistant Professor of Material and Visual Culture in the School of Art and Design History and Theory. She received her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University in 2012, and her MA in Design, Decorative Arts, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center in 2005. Her research and teaching span topics in the history of European art, design, and architecture from 1800 through 1950, with special emphasis on German visual and material culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She is also concerned with the significance of both theoretical discourse and fictional narrative in the history of architecture and design, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the roles of period literature and contemporary writing in the study of visual and material culture, including: Integrative Seminars 1 and 2; Against Nature: Modernism in 19th-Century Europe; Tales of Seduction: Architecture and Design in Literature; and Writing Design: How to Think, Talk, and Write about Objects.
Dr. Hartzell has published articles on fin-de-siècle Parisian fashion and furniture; early 19th-century Biedermeier interiors and theatricality; the modernization of German stoneware ceramics; and the significance of Medieval and Renaissance culture for German modernism. Her reseach has been supported by the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the DAAD, and the Central European History Society. Ongoing research interests include the intersection of materiality and cultural politics in modern design, as well qualities of agency, animation, and “thingliness” in the conception and reception of designed objects. Dr. Hartzell’s current book project – Designs on the Body: The Modern Art of Richard Riemerschmid – examines how Munich artist Richard Riemerschmid’s early 20th-cenury designs for housewares, interiors, and clothing force a reconception canonical modernism.
“A Renovated Renaissance: Richard Riemerschmid’s Modern Interiors for the Thieme House in Munich,” Interiors 5:1 (2014): 5-36.
“Otherworldly Worldliness: Romantic Fantasy and Biedermeier Desire in Schinkel’s Berlin,” Centropa 10:2 (May 2010): 80-105.
“A Ghost in the Machine Age: The Westerwald Stoneware Industry and German Design Reform,” The Journal of Modern Craft 2:3 (November 2009): 251-277.
“The Velvet Touch: Fashion, Furniture, and the Fabric of the Interior,” Fashion Theory 13:1 (March 2009): 51-82. Reprinted in Mark Taylor, ed., Interior Design and Architecture: Critical and Primary Sources, vol. 2 (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013): 138-157.