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Coe Art Collection

Coe Art Collection

[A brief, incomplete essay; should be accompanied by photographs of some works of art; coordinate with articles on Grant Wood, Marvin Cone, Conger Metcalf, and outdoor works of art spread around campus.]

Coe has a large collection of artwork, located in and around buildings throughout campus.  Whether directly given to Coe, bought for the college by donors, or merely on temporary loan, most of the paintings, drawings, and lithographs of the Coe art collection are displayed in the first- and second-floor galleries of Stewart Memorial Library. 

Coe's library was remodeled and expanded in 1988, in part to expand floor space, but also in a way to more safely and prominently display the Coe Art Collection.  The large arched windows, now an easily-recognized signature of Coe, light up the artworks for viewing.  These windows protect them as well, as there are screens on the windows to block ultraviolet rays from the sun.

The collection itself includes many original works, as well as lithographs and prints.  The Intaglio of Lincoln, a print by Maurico Lasansky can be found on the first floor of the library.  Donated by Justin and Mildred Albright in memory of Charles Lynch, class of 1926, the Intaglio is part of the Lincoln Collection given to Coe.  There are also lithographs and prints of known artists such as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse scattered throughout the reading rooms of the first and second floors.

One of the larger collections of artwork in the library is the Hinkhouse Collection of Contemporary Art, established in 1962.  Because of the work of Dr. Forest Hinkhouse, organized and dedicated to honor Mr. and Mrs. George V. Hinkhouse during their lifetime, Coe has been able to house 46 works of contemporary art, obtained over several years from 13 different countries. Here are a few representative works:

La Marchande D'Oiseaux, a lithograph by Fernand Leger, Contemporary French

St. Francis, a drawing by Alfeo Faggi, Contemporary American

La Petite Afrique, a lithograph by Graham Sutherland, Contemporary English

Starry Night in Holland, a tempera painting by Eugene Brandt, Contemporary Dutch

Nude, a watercolor by Gunner Gunderson, Contemporary Norwegian

Madonna and Child, an etching by Cantu Federico, Contemporary Mexican

Galleries Cannes, 1956, and Vallauris Exposition, two lithograph posters by Pablo Picasso, Contemporary French

Dr. Hinkhouse, a 1948 Coe graduate who later studied at Harvard and New York University, arranged for generous additions to the art collections of many colleges besides Coe.

Three other large collections of note are featured in Stewart memorial Library.  The Grant Wood collection resides in the Perrine Gallery on the second floor, featuring the panel series "Fruits of Iowa," as well as the original charcoal study for Daughters of Revolution, one of Wood's more famous oil paintings.  Over 50 of the pieces done by Marvin Cone, 1914 Coe graduate and professor from 1919 to 1960, are displayed in the Winifred S. Cone Gallery in the library's entryway.  A large collection of work by Conger Metcalf, 1936 Coe graduate, can be found on the second floor of the library, in and around the Metcalf and Pashigan Galleries.

Coe's art collection consists of close to 500 old and new works by nearly 300 different artists from five continents.  The monetary estimate of the set is in the millions of dollars, but the genuine value that it lends to Coe College in knowledge, culture, and beauty is priceless.

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