Rosemarie Haag Bletter has taught at Yale, Columbia, and the Institute of Fine Arts in addition to the City University of New York Graduate Center where she is a Professor Emerita. She has mentored more than 25 doctoral dissertations, including those of scholars Barry Bergdoll, Larry Busbea, Gabrielle Esperdy, and Claire Zimmerman.
In addition to teaching, Bletter curated groundbreaking architecture exhibitions such as Skyscraper Style, the 1975 Brooklyn Museum exhibition that was one of the first studies to validate commercial architecture designed in the Art Deco style. A decade later in 1985, together with her husband, the architecture critic Martin Filler, and others, Bletter curated High Styles: Twentieth-Century American Design, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in which she explored the multiplicity of trends in American design and the differences between elite and popular modernism. Bletter also advised on large-scale exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art’s 2001 exhibition Mies in Berlin and the Denver Art Museum’s 2002 exhibition US Design 1975–2000. The Bletter and Filler team also collaborated with filmmaker Michael Blackwood on three documentary films, Beyond Utopia: Changing Attitudes in American Architecture (1983), Arata Isozaki: Early Work in Japan (1985), and Stirling (1987).
The author of many books, Bletter’s work has focused on German architecture of the post-World War I period, American architecture of the 1920s and 1930s, and contemporary architecture. Among her many publications are Skyscraper Style: Art Deco New York (Oxford, 1975) with Cervin Robinson, El Arquitecto Josep Vilaseca I Casanovas (Colegio de Arquitectos de Cataluna, 1977), a critical introduction to Adolf Behne: The Modern Functional Building (Getty Texts and Documents Series, 1996), and with Joan Ockman, The Modern Architecture Symposia, 1962–1966 (Yale, 2014). In addition, Bletter has authored numerous scholarly articles and book and exhibition catalog chapters including the 1981 article “The Interpretation of the Glass Dream: Expressionist Architecture and the History of the Crystal Metaphor,” for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the 1987 article “Inventions of the Skyscraper Notes on its Diverse Histories,” for Assemblage, and the 2001 article, “Mies and Dark Transparency,” for MoMA’s Mies in Berlin exhibition. When Bletter retired from CUNY in 2011, Gabrielle Esperdy organized a symposium to honor Bletter’s influential career. In her remarks, Esperdy stated, “Shedding light on architecture’s plurality—exposing the existence of multiple modernist stories, indeed of multiple modernisms, may be Rosemarie’s most important legacy. And this may explain why much of her scholarship has a decided historiographic strain, as she worked to uncover the myriad ways that designers, critics, and historians constructed the modernist narratives that became her frequent subject.”