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"While Coiner expressed no regrets about serving 'the wheels of industry,' saying, 'If we had better designers working with industry or with government, we might not have a better world but it would surely look better.' He also felt his duty as an artist was to preserve on canvas 'the unspoiled places left in the world' to better meet people's 'growing need for tranquility.'"
Painter Charles T. Coiner was born into a California farming family in 1898. He studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and the Art Institute of Chicago while working for an advertising agency. This led to a job with N.W. Ayer and Son, an advertising firm in Philadelphia, where he rose to an executive level and worked with such artists as Salvador Dali and Georgia O'Keeffe in conjunction with national advertising campaigns. His advertising campaign series, Great Ideas of Western Man, for the Container Corporation of America, integrated the works of Picasso, Dufy, and DeKooning. Coiner designed the Blue Eagle, the symbol of the National Recovery Act during the Depression. During World War II, he created defense signs and government posters. He was also a trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Chairman of the Philadelphia College of Art, and member of the Art Directors' Hall of Fame. Known for his landscape paintings, he worked in a variety of media in a style he described as impressionist. His twin passions for painting and fly-fishing led to extensive travel, although many of his paintings were equally inspired by scenes from his own backyard at his Coltsfoot Farm.
Daily Intelligencer photo of Charles Coiner, February 8, 1982. Image courtesy of the James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago, Illinois, c. 1915-1924
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, c. 1915-1924
Connection to Bucks County
A native of Santa Barbara, California, Coiner resided in Mechanicsville for more than 50 years until his death at age 91. Many of his paintings were inspired by scenes from his own backyard at Coltsfoot Farm, a 240-year-old stone farmhouse set on over 100 acres in Mechanicsville, Bucks County. He and his wife Mae turned the farmhouse into a kind of nature preserve, creating ponds, English gardens, orchards, and managed woodlots. The Coiners turned over 150 acres of their farm to the National Land Trust (a Philadelphia conservationist organization) for $1 to preserve open space and for raising soil-building crops. Coiner was an associate of other artists who had come to Bucks County in the 1930s, such as Stephen McNeeley, Paul Darrow, and Donald Hedges, and exhibited with them locally.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, William Lathrop, Paul Darrow, Stephen McNeeley, and Donald A. Hedges
Major Solo Exhibitions
Charles Coiner Retrospective, Bucks County Council on the Arts, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1981
Major Group Exhibitions
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1932-1934, 1949, 1951-1952, 1954, 1960, 1964, and 1966
Corcoran Gallery of Art Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1941
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1963
Bucks County Council on the Arts, Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Retrospective, Rodman House, 1981; Tenth Anniversary Exhibit, Rodman House, 1983; Bucks County Arts Invitational, Rodman House, 1986; and Three Bucks County Masters, Heritage Towers, 1989
General Electric Corporate Headquarters, Fairfield, Connecticut, c. 1980
Gentle Winds Gallery, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1980
Midtown Galleries, New York, New York, 1984 (long-time primary representative)
Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Newman and Saunders Galleries, Wayne, Pennsylvania
National Academy of Design, New York, New York
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
Wichita University, Wichita, Kansas
Art Director's Award of Distinction (first American to receive it)
Art Director's Hall of Fame, inductee, 1964
Phillips' Mill Community Association: Exhibit Prize, 1962; Special Patrons Prize, 1975; Theodore Sommer Award, 1984
Award for Excellence in the Arts, Pennsylvania Arts Council, nominee, 1980
Art Directors' Club
Affiliations and Memberships
Art Directors' Hall of Fame, Member
Artists Equity, Member
Art Alliance of Philadelphia, Member
Art Directors' Club, Philadelphia and New York, Member
Museum of Modern Art, Member of Advisory Board
National Academy of Design, Associate Member
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Trustee
Philadelphia College of Art, Chairman of Board of Governors
Hawthorn and Hedgerow
Plained Field With Hedgerows
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