Robert Smith Award

By Jeannine Falino, DAS Smith Award Committee chair

Freyja Hartzell

Freyja Hartzell

The 2015 Robert C. Smith Award of the DAS for the best article published in 2014 in English on the decorative arts goes to Freyja Hartzell for her article “A Renovated Renaissance: Richard Riemerschmid’s Modern Interiors for the Thieme House in Munich,” published in Interiors (Volume 5, Issue 1: 5–36).                    

Hartzell considers Munich artist Richard Riemerschmid’s anti-modernist application of German Renaissance principles in his modern designs for a gentleman’s study. Her nuanced investigation draws upon Dürer’s “Self-portrait” of 1500 as a cultural touchstone and Riemerschmid’s use of wood to symbolize the German character, one that embodied both a rough materiality and a soulful spirituality.
When she joined the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture (New York, NY) faculty as an assistant professor of modern design history in July 2015, Hartzell became the first program graduate to be appointed to a tenure-track position. She was previously an assistant professor of material and visual culture in the School of Art and Design History and Theory at the Parsons School of Design (New York, NY). She has taught in the MA program in Design History and Curatorial Studies at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and in the Department of Art and Art History at Wesleyan University. She received her undergraduate degree in 1998 from Grinnell College, MA in 2005 from Bard and PhD in 2012 from the Department of the History of Art at Yale University.
Hartzell’s manuscript, Designs on the Body: The Modern Art of Richard Riemerschmid, examines how Riemerschmid’s early 20th-century designs for housewares, interiors and clothing force a reconception of canonical modernism.

Past recipients of the DAS Robert C. Smith Award

Presented for the most distinguished article in the field of decorative arts, this award is named after Robert C. Smith, the noted art historian who taught at the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in the art and architecture of Portugal, Spain, South America and the United States.

2007, Dr. Christopher Long, "The Viennese Secessionists and Modern American Design," Studies in the Decorative Arts, Spring–Summer 2007 (Vol. xiv, No. 2, pp.6–44).

2006, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall: An Artist's Country Estate (Yale University Press in conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

2005, Jewel Stern, 16 chapters and a two-part conclusion to the exhibition catalog Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design (Yale University Press in conjunction with the Dallas Art Museum).