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 G. Caliman (Gloucester) Coxe  (1907 - 1999)

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Lived/Active: Kentucky/Pennsylvania      Known for: abstract image painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
For four decades G. (Gloucester) Caliman Coxe (1907-1999) was the dean of African-American artists in Louisville, Kentucky,  an art scene in the 1950s and '60s that included such artists as Bob Thompson and Sam Gilliam, among several others.

Coxe, a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, lived in Louisville from 1924 until his death in 1999. In his 40s he entered the University of Louisville to study art. He was the first African-American to receive a Hite Art Scholarship to the university and was the first black fine-arts graduate of the University. The University was a center for abstract art in the 1950s, and Gilliam and Thompson both studied there.

Coxe, described by one writer as a "founder of significant art organizations, mentor to young artists and a daringly experimental abstract painter," earned his living as an illustrator. He worked for local theaters and, for 20 years, at the Training Support Center at the Fort Knox Army base outside Louisville. The center created training aids including models.

Coxe exhibited at the ground-breaking Smith-Mason Gallery in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s and was honored with a Governor's Award in the Arts from the Kentucky Arts Council.

Louisville art historian Madeline Covi, in her essay for the upcoming book Art Center:  Modern Art in Louisville, writes of Coxe "brooding over" all the promising young black artists, an "older figure ... who would come, in the later afternoon, to the (university) art library, after his work at Fort Knox, perhaps to get books, perhaps to take a night class, and who was given before his death a triumphant and vital retrospective show at the university" in 1995.
 

Submitted by Warren Payne

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