“I quite liked that young woman, nothing about her was affected.
She received and treated people with such simplicity that finding oneself in her
company was a real pleasure . . . I had all that was necessary to maintain
a wife decorously and I decided to break my celibacy.”
Although Juglaris was deeply dedicated to his calling as an artist, his flourishing career made him confident that he could at last support a wife and family. Romance blossomed when he met Katie (or “Catterina”) Brooks. Against the wishes of Katie’s mother who loudly disparaged Juglaris, declaring that “Italians are all assassins and brigands,” the couple was married on July 5, 1883. It was a simple ceremony at home with only family members and a few friends present, including Henry Hammond Gallison, Donald MacDonald and Frank Cowles, the head of Cowles Art School. The minister from nearby People’s Church, later the site of one of Juglaris’s stained glass commissions, officiated.
As newlyweds Tommaso and Katie Juglaris continued to have trouble with her family. Yet they enjoyed a happy life together,
beginning with their honeymoon trip to New York. They also took time for a more extended August excursion to Nova Scotia, traveling north by boat and returning to Boston by train.
Tragically, however, Katie died of septic infection nineteen days after giving birth to a daughter by caesarian section on May 10, 1884. Moreover, left in the care of the Children’s Hospital, Juglaris’s newborn daughter, Marianne, also succumbed to fatal illness just a couple of months afterwards on August 4. A grief-stricken Juglaris was in Italy at the time, visiting his one surviving brother in Florence. He returned to the United States only to discover that he was now a childless father, as well as a widower. Juglaris’s double loss undoubtedly weakened his ties to the United States.
In the Face of Grief. . .
No known photographs of Katie Juglaris or the infant Marianne Juglaris exist. But their images may survive, preserved for posterity, in drawings and paintings by Juglaris and a sculpted bas relief by another Italian artist, Cesar Biscarra. The painting Mid-Ocean, which Juglaris finished and exhibited after Katie’s tragic death, appears to depict the artist solicitously attending his wife aboard the deck of a ship. Katie Juglaris is also believed to have been the inspiration and model for a painting which Juglaris entitled La Zingarella or Gypsy Girl. Owned by the Familiar Moncalereisa cultural heritage organization in Moncalieri, Italy, La Zingarella prominently displays the same distinctive T-J monogram with which Juglaris signed his Michigan Capitol muses.
At the time of his wife’s death, Juglaris commissioned Cesar Biscarra of Turin to sculpt a white marble medallion bas relief for her tomb at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. The bas relief is a carved portrait of Katie Juglaris in profile. The tomb also served as a grave site for young Marianne Juglaris, who was buried at her mother’s side. Juglaris may have sketched his infant daughter in her cradle before departing on his trip to Europe to visit his brother in Turin. Like Juglaris’s memoir, the drawing of an infant was found among the artist’s papers and collected art in northern Italy.
Juglaris was devastated by the loss of his wife and child. In his memoir, he notes that following their burial at Forest Hills, he never ventured to the cemetery again. In a somber self-portrait painted a year afterwards (1885) sorrow and grief seem etched in Juglaris’s face.