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Gerald K. Geerlings
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1897 - 1998, New Canaan, Connecticut)

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Printmaker, architect and author, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 18 1897. His first job was as an architectural draftsman. One of the few artists who served his country in both World Wars. In 1917 he served in the 120 Field Artillery, 32nd division and by 1918 was a 2nd Lieutenant and during WWII he served as a captain in the command office of the 8th Bomber. He originated and developed the Target Identification Unit. He also served in both the European and Pacific theaters. After WWI he was invited to study in England at St. John's College, Cambridge University. The next year he enrolled at the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. After graduation he worked as an architect for several firms before starting his own. His printmaking career began when he as a working architect and by 1928 he traveled to London to study etching at the Royal College of Art. He won his first award for a print in 1931 awarded by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for "Jeweled City."

In 1933 the depression and moving to Connecticut caused him to interrupt his printmaking career. He went back to printmaking in 1975 producing a group of lithographs on Paris and New York City. He died peacefully in Connecticut at 101 years old in 1998.

There are several books written by Gerald Geerlains and several on his art. The catalogue raisonne of his prints is Gerald K. Geerlings by Joseph S. Czestochowski.

Biography on Website for Terra Foundation for American Art:$0040null:118/0;jsessionid=86AF95168582B6CB76EDDE920D4EF377?t:state:flow=e8d0d7ed-4983-40ba-9bc1-48a49d60bbaf
Gerald K. Geerlings led a remarkable career as an architect, architectural draftsman, printmaker, and writer on architectural history and design. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Geerlings interrupted his art education and early career as an architectural draftsman and newspaper reporter to enlist in the army. After eighteen months as a commissioned officer in France, he attended Cambridge University in England. From 1919 to 1922, he studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, earning both bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture as well as several prizes. Geerlings worked for the New York architectural firms of York & Sawyer and Starret & Van Vleck before establishing his own architectural practice and making his first print in 1926. He would eventually create nearly sixty prints in intaglio and lithography, meticulously detailed cityscapes and views of individual buildings, primarily in Chicago and New York, that document urban growth in modern America. From 1928 to 1932, Geerlings lived alternately in New York and London, where he studied etching at the Royal College of Art and did research for several books: Color Schemes of Adam Buildings (1928), The Metal Crafts in Architecture (1929), and Wrought Iron in Architecture (1929). In 1933, the artist settled with his family in Connecticut.

Notwithstanding the critical acclaim for his exhibited prints, the stringent economic conditions of the Great Depression induced Geerlings temporarily to abandon printmaking. Beginning in1930, he contributed articles on domestic architecture and graphic design for such magazines as House & Garden and House Beautiful. He also was an accomplished draftsman, and his drawings were exhibited at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Adept in aerial perspective drawing, Geerlings devised target maps to aid Allied bombers during World War II. In 1942, as an Army Air Corps captain headquartered in England, he served as an intelligence officer, originated the Target Identification Unit, and devised air force procedures. Awarded a Legion of Merit medal in 1943, he retired two years later at the rank of colonel. He then resumed practicing and writing about architecture until 1970, apart from a stint working as a civilian consultant at Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1948-52. During the 1970s, Geerlings once again took up printmaking, now turning his attention to lithography; he also continued to make drawings, often using pastel. In 1980, he donated much of his work to the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives; other works entered important art museum collections in the years just prior to Geerling's death at the age of one hundred.

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