Katharine M. Gericke (1893-1974)
Katharine Maria Gericke grew up surrounded by the art and music of Europe and America. She was born in Vienna on March 24, 1893. Her father was an accomplished conductor of symphony orchestras and choral groups in Austria, and a close friend of many of the musical geniuses of the day. Her family traveled extensively to the cultural centers of Europe and, even as a young child, Katharine demonstrated an early talent for sketching the picturesque sites they visited. In 1898, five-year-old Katharine was first introduced to American culture when her father became, for the second time, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The family returned to Austria in 1906 when Katharine was thirteen. Katharine enrolled in art school in Vienna in about 1910, but her art education was disrupted by financial difficulties brought on by the First World War. In 1925 Katharine’s father died in Vienna. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned his surviving “loving wife and talented daughter”. Katherine and her mother traveled throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, visiting London and New York in 1932, but more often returning to the Renaissance villages of Italy, or places like Salzburg and other famous centers of their musical past. When the Nazis annexed Austria, Katharine immigrated to the U.S. and returned to Boston. She became a U.S citizen in 1946, and worked most of her life as an art conservator until 1968. She never married, and died in 1974 at the age of 81.