He was elusive in life, including while in Alabama in his early and middle life.

Now, the foundation preserving the history and personalities of the golden age of art in Alabama is presenting the works and times of Richard Blauvelt Coe. Maybe he won’t seem so elusive anymore.

Here is your invitation to the Lunch & Learn from the Dixie Art Colony:

Join us on Thursday, March 14, 2024, to learn all about DAC artist Richard Blauvelt Coe. During this unique program, we will show both slides and original works of art by Coe, several from the DAC Foundation Collection. The presentation will also include restored vintage photographs from the DAC Archives.

Lunch will begin at 11:00 am. The presentation will start at 11:45. We will meet in Trinity Hall at Trinity Episcopal Church, located directly across the street from Winn Dixie and McDonald’s at 5375 US Highway 231, Wetumpka, Alabama.

Reservations are requested but not required. There is no charge for the program or the optional lunch. Call 334.328.0730 to make a reservation.  

The Dixie Art Colony was established in 1933 by John Kelly Fitzpatrick (1888-1953), Sallie B. Carmichael and her daughter, Warren Carmichael LeBron. The idea was to establish an artists’ colony to paint and to train new artists in the southern U.S. The colony last met in 1948.

"Dixie Art Colony Foundation" was established in Wetumpka in 2015 to reintroduce the art world and the public to the artists who walked the streets of Wetumpka and lived in their nearby colony off Lake Jordan. They also collect art and historical information on Alabama artists of note, including Coe.

Here is the life story of Coe as told by the Dixie Art Colony Foundation:

Richard Blauvelt Coe was born on February 27, 1904, in Selma, Alabama. Coe lost his mother on July 10, 1910, at the tender age of 6. She was only 27 years old when she passed away. Coe’s father remarried in 1915.

Coe was raised in Selma, where he attended grade school. After grade school, he attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee, followed by a one-year stint at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied architecture. In 1925, Coe won a “Birmingham Allied Arts Club / Birmingham News-Age-Herald” scholarship to study at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City.

He then continued his studies with Philip Hale at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. While there, he also studied with two visiting British instructors, Rodney Burne and Robin Guthrie, who helped him win a “Page Traveling Scholarship.” Through this scholarship, Coe was able to travel and study in Europe. He and a friend toured Italy, Germany, France, Denmark, Scotland, and England on a bicycle. Coe also operated a small studio in Florence, Italy during this time.

After Coe’s return to the United States, he studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, but soon returned to his home state of Alabama. After settling in Birmingham, Coe was appointed to head the state’s WPA art programs.

For the last 25 years, Coe lived in Goldens Bridge, New York, a small town located north of New York City, near Danbury, Connecticut. After retiring from McCall’s magazine, Coe spent his time painting and teaching art at several schools and his home.

Coe passed away on December 13, 1978, in Goldens Bridge, NY, at the age of 73. He was laid to rest in Live Oak Cemetery in his hometown of Selma, Alabama. His obituary lists his only survivors as his wife Anne Hunt Coe and one niece, Margaret Ellen Coe Cairnes.

“Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.”  — Israelmore Ayivor

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at ZeiglerElderCare@yahoo.com.

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