Gail Tanzer

Having obtained my master’s degree from The University of Chicago, I eventually began teaching art history at two universities. I write historical fiction books to renew interest in artists who were once famous but are now not so well-known. Each of my subjects has complicated personal dilemmas to which most of us can relate. In addition, each struggles against external forces particular to his/her time in history to take art one step further than it’s been.

Who was Otti Berger?

She was a happy woman who loved living and wanted to find her niche in art. When she did, she became one of the most innovative fabric designers of the early twentieth century. Layers of draperies almost covering the windows were replaced by her light materials that allowed for daylight exposure but enough covering to make for privacy at night.


My newly released book is based on the real-life story of Otti Berger, gifted Bauhaus student who took the art of weaving from a craft to an art but who, as a secret Jew, could not figure out how to deal with Hitler and the Nazis in 1920s and 30s Germany. The name of my book is Blame It On The Bauhaus?

Did you know that the Bauhaus was the first modern school of art and design and was probably the first building with glass and steel walls?

Mies Van der Rohe, one of the directors of the Bauhaus, innovated the use of tall glass and steel buildings which became known as the International Style.

But he loved working so much in Germany, what do you think he did when Hitler and the Nazis got into power?


I am beginning to take my PowerPoint and information on Augusta Savage back on the road. In March of 2022, I was asked to give a presentation to two English classes at a Chicago area high school. The kids were very responsive, and the teacher ordered some of the books for independent reading when the students said they really wanted to read Graven Images on their own.


Josephine Baker is being honored by the French today (November 30, 2021). She figured prominently in my last book, Graven Images. There will be a parade and a ceremony at the Pantheon. She was a great entertainer in the 1920s through the 1960s and was a spy for the French, enticing Nazi soldiers and then obtaining secrets from them.