Gretchen Holtzapple Bender
(PhD, Bryn Mawr) Director of Undergraduate Advising and lecturer, modern art
Room 219, Frick Fine Arts Building
Holtzapple Bender has enjoyed teaching at the University of Pittsburgh since August 2002, offering a wide range of courses including an introductory history of world art, several courses in 18th- and 19th-century European art, research and methodology seminars on feminism and art history, and Romantic landscape. In addition, she serves as director of undergraduate advising to a wonderfully vibrant and engaging student community of more than 180 majors in the history of art and architecture and architectural studies. Completing her dissertation at Bryn Mawr College under the guidance of Christiane Hertel, Holtzapple Bender’s research focuses on the landscape practice of Caspar David Friedrich in the context of a broader and emerging European visual culture. Specifically, she is interested in the gendering of spectatorship and space in early 19th-century European culture.
“Gaertner’s Compromise: Spectatorship and Social Order in the 1834 Panorama of Berlin,” journal article under review.
“Interior/Landscape: Placelessness and the Gendered Gaze in the Work of Caspar David Friedrich,” dissertation, Bryn Mawr College (Ann Arbor: UMI, 2001).
Doris Sill Carland Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Bryn Mawr College, 1996
Phi Beta Kappa
Holtzapple Bender’s book project, Tracing Caroline: Women and Wandering in the Landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich, investigates a core group of paintings by the artist, all of which feature prominently men and women as observers: Woman at a Window, Woman Before a Setting Sun, Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog, and Chalk Cliffs at Rügen. She explores the role gender plays in the construction and reception of these landscape spaces and the relationship of women as spectators to the male Romantic wanderer. She also explorse the way in which Friedrich’s interest in nature as spectacle parallels the desire to intensify the visual experience in panoramas, dioramas, transparent pictures and other popular entertainments in the broader visual culture of this era, and how his interest in the experience of traveling intersects with the rise of tourism as a social practice. Emerging from this broader project, Holtzapple Bender is now finishing two articles on Friedrich’s Woman at a Window, the first of which derives from a talk, “C.D. Friedrich’s Woman at a Window as an Anti-Domestic Interior,” which was presented in September 2005 at the annual NEASECS conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It analyzes this work in the context of the Biedermeier interior, exemplified in the work of his colleague and friend, Georg Friedrich Kersting. Finally, she is preparing another conference paper on women as wanderers in Romantic culture for the annual conference of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies in Montreal in March 2006.