Gwen L. Chanzit

Professor of the Practice of Museum Studies; Director of Museum Studies

Director, Museum Studies


Herbert Bayer Bauhaus Women of Abstract Expressionism

Professional Biography

Dr. Gwen Chanzit is Professor of the Practice and Director of Museum Studies in Art History. She is also Curator Emerita of Modern Art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive at the Denver Art Museum, Over her 36-plus years at the Denver Art Museum, Dr. Chanzit organized more than 30 exhibitions, including Figure to Field, Mark Rothko in the 1940s, Herbert Bayer: Berlin Graphics 1928-1938, Fracture: Cubism and After, Joan Miró: Instinct and Imagination, Starring Linda: A Trio of John DeAndrea Sculptures, Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, Herbert Bayer: New York and Aspen Paintings 1938-1974, Gunther Gerzso: A Mexican Master, and Abstract Expressionism from the Denver Art Museum.
Her major curatorial project, Women of Abstract Expressionism, opened at the Denver Art Museum in June 2016 and was on tour for a year. This traveling exhibition received much positive attention in the national and international press. Its comprehensive catalogue published by Yale University Press is into its fifth printing.

Dr. Chanzit organized the inaugural exhibition of DU's Vicki Myhren Gallery and some exhibitions using the world renowned collection of Vicki and Kent Logan, including mentoring students to mount the first student-curated exhibition from the Logan Collection, In Limbo.

Regarded as the world expert on internationally renowned Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer (1900-1985), Chanzit has published the books, The Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive at the Denver Art Museum (1988), Herbert Bayer and Modernist Design in America (1987), and a revised edition of the latter, From Bauhaus to Aspen: Herbert Bayer and Modernist Design in America (2005). For the 2009 catalog of a major Austrian retrospective on Bayer, Ahoi, Herbert: Bayer und die moderne. she wrote “ein visuelles alphabet: die entschlϋsselung von bayers ‘anthologies.’” She was the co-author of the 2013 book, Der einsame Groβstädter (Herbert Bayer: Eine Kurzbiografie) and authored a chapter, Bayer in Amerika. Among her publications, Chanzit contributed essays on all 40 artists included in the catalog for the Denver Art Museum’s 2006-2007 exhibition, RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan. She also was the editor and authored essays for the Museum’s exhibition, Embrace! in 2009.

Chanzit is a frequent lecturer locally, nationally, and internationally. She often serves as juror for art competitions and exhibitions. She contributes to the future generation of museum professionals through her own positions in both the Denver Art Museum and in the School of Art and Art History at DU; her former students now hold significant positions in museums around the country.


  • Ph.D., art history, University of Iowa, 1985
  • MA, art history, University of Denver, 1974
  • BA, art history, Northwestern University, 1970

Professional Affiliations

  • International Association of Art Critics
  • AAMC
  • American Alliance of Museums

Featured Publications

Chanzit, G. L. (Ed.). (2005). From Bauhaus to Aspen: Herbert Bayer and Modernist Design in America (p. 272). Denver, Colorado, USA: Denver Art Museum and Johnson Press.
Chanzit, G. L., Marter, J., Hobbs, R., Landau, E., Landauer, S., & Sandler, I. (2016). Women of Abstract Expressionism, Introduction and Acknowledgments . In J. Marter (Ed.), Women of Abstract Expressionism (p. approx 240). New Haven, CT and Denver, CO, USA: Yale University Press and the Denver Art Museum.
Chanzit, G. L. (2009). ein visuelles alphabet: die entschlϋsselung von bayers anthologien (trans: A Visual Alphabet: Deciphering Bayer’s Anthology Paintings. In Ahoi, Herbert: Bayer und die moderne (pp. 473-485). Linz, Austria: Lentos Museum.


Chanzit, G. L. (2015). Women of Abstract Expressionism. Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO.
Chanzit, G. L. (2015). Joan Miro: Instinct and Imagination. Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA.
Chanzit, G. L. (2013). Herbert Bayer: The Bauhaus and Pre-Bauhaus Years (1900-1928). Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO USA.
Chanzit, G. L. (2013). Figure to Field: Mark Rothko in the 1940s. Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA.
Chanzit, G. L. (2011). curated exhibition: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits. Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, USA.


Chanzit, G. L. (2019). Herbert Bayer: From Bauhaus to Aspen . Denver, CO: Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art.
Chanzit, G. L. (2017). Perle Fine: Why Don't We Know Her Better?. Symposium on Women of Abstract Expressionism. Palm Springs Art Museum: Palm Springs Art Museum.
Chanzit, G. L. (2012). The Distinguished Lecture: Organizing overthrown: clay wIthout limits. On the Edge: Annual meeting of NCECA. Seattle, WA: NCECA / National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts .
Chanzit, G. L. (2016). Women Abstract Expressionists: Why Have They Been Left Out?. Abstract Expressionism. London, England : Royal Academy.
Chanzit, G. L. (2016). A Curatorial Perspective of Women of Abstract Expressionism. Women of Abstract Expressionism . Denver Art Museum: Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum.


  • Curator Emerita, Denver Art Museum
  • Top Ten Curators, PRAXIS Center for Aesthetics
  • 16 Female Curators Shaking Things Up in 2016, ArtNet
  • Dean's Award for Interdisciplinary Studies (3-member team), AHSS
  • DAM Key Award, DAMContemporaries, Denver Art Museum