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 William Henry Coffin  (1812 - 1898)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: ship painter, marine

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Clipper Ship Off Boston Light
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Raymond Agler Fine Arts:
William Henry Coffin was probably the son of William Coffin, Jr. who advertised art instruction in the Nantucker Inquirer  (1824-1828).   He lived on Nantucket Island until c. 1863 and maintained ties with the Island through later life.  No record has been found of his death. 

Dorothy Brewington in her Dictionary of Marine Artists says that he was active until 1898.  He was primarily a marine painter, though he may have painted other subjects as well.  The Smithsonian Institution Reaserch Information Service (SIRIS) presently lists 15 marine paintings by him. 

Two early works, View of the Brig Ceylon Wrecked on Nantucket (1839) and The USS  Constitution vs. HBM  Guerriere  are in the Peabody Essex Museum.  His work after the 1850's is marked by steadily increasing artistic sophistication and a marked kinship with his Luminist contemporaries, led by Fitz Hugh (Henry) Lane, Martin Johnson Heade and John F. Kensett, painters who, in the words of Matthew Baigell, "chose to affirm the importance of light as landscape's binding ingredient."  (Dictionary of American Art)

Coffin's ship paintings demonstrate a thorough grounding in shipbuilding and seamanship.

Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

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