The papers of New York painter and art critic William Anderson Coffin date from 1886-1924 and measure 1.6 linear feet. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials and correspondence, project files for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the American Artist's Committee of One Hundred, and the exhibition of works by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris, three additional scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of New York painter and art critic William Anderson Coffin date from 1886 to 1924 and measure 1.6 linear feet. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials and correspondence; project files for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the American Artist's Committee of One Hundred, and the exhibition of works by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris; three additional scrapbooks; printed material; and photographs.
Scattered biographical material includes membership cards and an autobiographical essay. Correspondence is with colleagues and related generally to receptions and events, including an invitation to the launch of the U. S. Battleship Arizona. There are one or two letters each from Frank W. Benson, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Royal Cortissoz, Walter Gay, and Whitney Warren.
Three series of project files document Coffin's work for the Fine Arts Division of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the American Artists' Committee of One Hundred that established a relief fund for families of French soldier-artists, and an exhibition of artwork by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris. Files contain a variety of materials, such as letters, drafts of reports, meeting minutes, photographs, catalogs and brochures, and other materials. There are two oversized scrapbooks for the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition. The files for the Luxembourg Museum exhibition include a letter signed by Louis Bouché, Bernard Gussow, Alfred H. Maurer, Joseph Stella, and William Zorach protesting the exclusion of their work.
Three additional scrapbooks contain clippings of articles written by Coffin when he was employed as an art critic for The New York Evening Post, Harper's Weekly, and The New York Sun.
Printed material consists of miscellaneous clippings primarily about Coffin, programs from American Rights Committee exercises, a Dixie Club of New York concert, a Lotos Club concert, the Lafayette-Marne Anniversary exercises, and souvenir tickets to various art-related events including several Paris Salon Vernissage events sponsored by the Société des Artistes Francais.
Photographs include an album of photographs of Coffin, various family members, and residences; a photograph of Coffin posing with an unidentified group of his colleagues; and photographs of family friends. Project files also contain photographs.
The collection is arranged as 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1916-1922 (2 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1924 (8 folders; Box 1)
Series 3: Project File for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, 1900-1901 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 4: Project File for the American Artists' Committee of One Hundred, 1914-1923 (14 folders; Box 1)
Series 5: Project File for the Exhibition of Works by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris, 1919-1920 (11 folders; Box 1)
Series 6: Scrapbooks of Clippings of Articles Written by Coffin, 1886-1913 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1912-1924 (6 folders; Box 1)
Series 8: Photographs, 1905-1923 (10 folders; Box 1)
William Anderson Coffin (1855-1925) of New York City was a landscape and figure painter and art critic. He organized several notable exhibitions and art-related charitable events for relief work in post-World War I France.
William Anderson Coffin was born near Pittsburgh in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on January 31, 1855, the son of Isabella C. Anderson and James Gardiner Coffin. Coffin studied art and graduated from Yale University in 1874. Three years later, he left for Paris and studied with academic artist Léon Bonnat. Coffin exhibited in the Paris Salons of 1879, 1880, and 1882.
In 1882, Coffin moved to New York City, participating in many exhibitions, including at the National Academy of Design. He also wrote as an art critic for Scribner's and Harper's Weekly, among other publications. From 1886 to 1891, he was art critic for The New York Evening Post, and was art editor at the New York Sun from 1896 to 1901.
Coffin directed the Fine Arts Division of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo from 1900 to 1901, and participated as a member of the New York Advisory Board of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. Coffin was also president of the American Artists' Committee of One Hundred that established a relief fund for families of French soldier-artists. For this charitable work, Coffin received the medal of the Legion of Honor from the French government in 1917.
Coffin was a member of various arts organizations including the Lotos Club, the Architectural League of New York, and the National Academy of Design. His artwork is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Municipal Gallery of Venice, Italy, the Albright Art Gallery, and the Brooklyn Museum.
William Anderson Coffin died on October 26, 1925 in New York City.
The William Anderson Coffin papers were donated in 1970 by Stewart Klonis to whom the papers were given by Mrs. DeWitt M. Lockman of Manorville, Long Island, New York.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
(includes photograph of statue of Abraham Lincoln with unidentified man standing at right)
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Processing of the collection was funded by the Getty Grant Program; digitization of the collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Biographical materials, letters and correspondence, photographs, diary, subject files, and printed ephemera.
REEL 2527: Biographical sketches; sculpture contracts; lists of Pratt's work compiled by his son, Dudley Pratt; a pencil sketch; photographs of Pratt at work in his studio; portraits of him; 172 photographs of his sculpture and a memorial exhibition installation; photographs of Frank Weston Benson and Alexander Phimister Proctor; clippings; and printed material.
REELS 3995-3998: An award from Yale School of Fine Arts; admission tickets; marriage certificate; identification card for his wife, Helen, from the Societe des Artistes Francais for the 1897 Salon; a 25-page diary of Helen, 1896-1898, describing the Pratts' wedding and their experiences in Italy and France; notices of Pratt's appointment to the Visiting Committee of Classical Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; biographical sketches; an anecdote by a nephew; and a letter of reminiscence by his son Dudley, 1941. Also included are letters from Pratt to his mother, Sarah Victoria Whittlesey Pratt, describing his activities, his contemporaries and his work; correspondence with friends, family, students, and associates and letters of condolence to Mrs. Pratt; subject files, arranged alphabetically by correspondent, containing letters, photographs and clippings from and about Pratt's friends and colleagues, including Frank Weston Benson, Bryson and Edith Woodman Burroughs, Daniel Chester French, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who gives Pratt advice and critiques two of his busts.
Biographical / Historical:
Sculptor, teacher; Boston, Mass.; b. 1867; d. 1917 Studied at Yale, Art Students League, and with Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Kenyon Cox, and William Merritt Chase, and others.
Material on reel 2527 lent for microfilming 1982 by Thomas Leavitt, a descendant of Pratt. Material on reels 3995-3998 lent 1987 by Cynthia Kennedy Sam, Pratt's granddaughter.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.