Elizabeth Gebauer studies early modern Northern European sculpture with Professor Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann. Her dissertation, The Art of Speech: Flemish Baroque Pulpits 1627-1794, is a thorough study of the many pulpits (‘preekstoelen’ in Dutch) sculpted during a period of intense rebuilding in the Catholic Netherlands. Due to iconoclastic riots and Calvinist rule in the late 16th century, much of the art within the church interiors was removed. Once the region returned to its former Habsburg sovereigns, the medieval church interiors were renovated and new churches were built. The unpainted wooden pulpits in the study are very large, highly ornate structures with stands elevated above bases populated with life-size figurative elements that are often narrative in nature. Staircases with intricately-carved banisters and large wooden sounding boards provide further opportunities for three-dimensional embellishment. Gebauer’s study of more than 100 pulpits relies upon connoisseurship and archival research to determine the origins and histories of the pulpits. The large and intricate network of sculpture workshops in Antwerp, and their working methods, are the primary focus of the analysis.
Gebauer received the Rubenianum Fellowship from the Belgian American Educational Foundation and Rubenianum Fund, which provided one year of residence in 2016-17 at the Rubenianum Research Institute for Flemish Art of the 16th and 17th centuries. During her stay in Antwerp, Belgium, she studied the many pulpits, drawings and terracotta models featured in her doctoral thesis and conducted primary research in various archives.
In 2011-12, Gebauer was the graduate intern in the Sculpture and Decorative Arts department at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. While at the Getty, she assisted the senior curator with the 2012 exhibition “Messerschmidt and Modernity” and the publication of its catalogue, and researched the Northern European sculptures in the permanent collection.
She received her B.A. in art history from the University of Southern California in 2007, and her M.A. from the University of California, Riverside in 2011.