Paintings of Rebecca Coffin

Elizabeth Rebecca Coffin (1850−1930) was born of Nantucket Quaker parentage in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at Vassar College, The Hague Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Students League in New York, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, in addition to traveling extensively in Europe and California. She was a pupil of Thomas Eakins, whose striking portrait of the artist is on display here. Beginning in the 1880s, Coffin began to summer regularly on Nantucket, painting brilliant genre scenes and portraits that capture the quaint and fading way of life of post-whaling Nantucket. After moving to Nantucket permanently in 1900, her artistic output declined, and she began to devote her energies to reviving instruction in handicrafts at the Coffin School. An eighth-generation descendant of original Nantucket settlers Tristram and Dionis Coffin, the artist returned to the island of her ancestors, leaving a legacy of outstanding paintings and devoted public service.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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