Gerstenberg was born in 1886 in Chemnitz, the son of a businessman. He attended the Kaiser- Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Hanover and studied from 1905 to 1912 in Berlin art history. 1912 (other sources: in Berlin in 1913 ), he received his doctorate under Heinrich Wölfflin in Munich, where he used the term Special German Gothic introduced his dissertation, in the adoption of a national or ethnic demarcation. This is also true for its artists biographies.
One assistant at the Art History Institute of the University of Munich from 1912 to 1914 was followed by the call-up for military service. 1919 Gerstenberg was habilitated at the University of Halle; habilitation thesis was entitled Claude Lorrain and the types of the ideal landscape painting. Following a teaching position in 1921, he taught since 1924 as an associate professor in Halle further interrupted by an intermezzo at the University of Kiel, where Gerstenberg 1932-1934 deputy, held a chair.
After the " seizure of power" of the Nazis, he joined in March 1933, the NSDAP. Gerstenberg returned in 1934 to Halle, where he remained until 1937 (other sources: 1937-1940 ) taught. Subsequently, he was until his dismissal in 1945 full professor at the University of Würzburg.
1949 Gerstenberg was reinstated and taught until 1954 as Professor of Medieval and Modern Art History in Würzburg.
- As the author of Introduction: Claude Lorrain. Landscape drawings, Woldemar Klein, Baden -Baden 1952