George Gaethke Biography

George Gaethke




George Michael Gaethke (1898-1949), muralist, printmaker, and painter, was born in Bathgate, North Dakota on July 31, 1898. His family moved to Montana where he grew up in Butte. Gaethke attended the University of Montana and the University of Washington in Seattle before moving to San Francisco, California in 1924.


It wasn't until he was in the San Francisco Bay Area that the idea of being an artist took hold. Gaethke began his art studies at the California School of Fine Arts but soon left for Chicago where he studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon his return to San Francisco, he studied color and design at the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design and later learned lithography from Ray Bertrand.


In the 1930s Gaethke produced lithographs under the WPA and assisted Maxine Albro with her Coit Tower mural in 1934. In 1940, he was working on his own mural project for the Baywood School in San Mateo.


During World War II, Gaethke worked at Kaiser and Bechtel shipyards as an engineer and draftsman. He maintained memberships in the San Francisco Art Association and the California Society of Print Makers.


Gaethke died in Mill Valley, California on August 28, 1982.


source: Edan Hughes