Elyse D. Gerstenecker

PhD Candidate


Elyse studies American design, decorative arts, and architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries under the guidance of Richard Guy Wilson. Her dissertation, “In Some Way Southern: The Newcomb College Pottery, William Lycett’s Studio, and Design in the New South, 1883-1910,” examines the emulation of Northeastern design in art pottery produced at Newcomb College in New Orleans and hand-painted china at Lycett’s in Atlanta, probing the potential relationships between these ceramics’ designs, their anticipated consumers, and notions of regional identity. Her research has been supported by the American Ceramic Circle, The Decorative Arts Trust, the Louisiana Historical Association, and the Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, as well as the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia.

Elyse graduated magna cum laude and with Honors in Art History from the University of Mary Washington in 2006. She received her MA in History of Decorative Arts in 2008 from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, where she performed research and contributed catalogue entries for the exhibition English Embroidery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700: ‘Twixt Art and Nature. Her focus on the American South stems from her work as Curator of Decorative & Folk Art at the William King Museum in Abingdon, Virginia. Since arriving at UVA, she has co-curated the exhibition “Reading Between the Lines of Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle Series” at the Small Special Collections Library and written about American silver for a forthcoming volume of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s catalogue of its collections as the museum’s Center for American Art Summer Silver Fellow. Elyse is currently the 2019-2020 Barringer-Lindner Curatorial Fellow at the Fralin Museum of Art.

In addition to developing her curatorial practice, Elyse has served as a teaching assistant for “History of World Architecture I and II,” “Arts & Cultures of the Slave South,” and “Twentieth-Century German Visual Culture” and has received the department’s Distinguished Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.