Mini Biography: Elizabeth Coffin

Birth: Sept. 9, 1950
Death: June 21, 1930
Nationality: American
Movement: American Realism
Coffin was born into a Quaker family in Brooklyn, N.Y. and studied at the Friends Seminary in NYC before attending one of the Seven Sisters, Vassar. She studied art in the Netherlands for a few years prior to becoming the first American to attain a M.F.A. in 1876.  Even after receiving her Master’s degree Coffin continued to take instruction at prestigious institutions in both New York City and Philadelphia. She was also involved in the teaching of manual and trade skills at The Coffin School in Nantucket which was founded by one of her ancestors to honor of another of her ancestors. Coffin’s work focused primarily on the maritime culture of Nantucket. She never married and is buried in a Quaker Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Some of Coffin’s notable works include: Portrait of the Artist in Conversation with Subject (1890); Grandmother’s Garret (pre-1906) and piece pictured below:


Coffin, Elizabeth. The Window Towards the Sea: Phebe Folger Pitman (1886-1887), Nantucket Historical Association, Nantucket, MA.
To see more examples of Coffin’s work visit the Nantucket Historical Association’s site.