Responsive Eye

Responsive Eye

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Ralph T. Coe and the Collecting of American Indian Art

Ralph T. Coe has collected American Indian art for half a century, forming a renowned collection that represents all regions and periods of American Indian art. This attractive catalogue presents two hundred works from Coe’s remarkable collection. Featured are exquisite examples of prehistoric stone objects, button blankets, crest objects, masks, canoe and tipi models, dolls and figurines, woven basketry, tobacco paraphernalia, and a selection of contemporary works, all of which bring to life the vivid cultures of the American Indian throughout the centuries.
In the accompanying text, Coe entertainingly describes his extensive travels in the United States and Canada as he searched for objects for his collection. The catalogue also includes an essay by Eugene V. Thaw about Coe’s contribution to the awareness of the artistic heritage of American Indian art; an overview of the collecting of American Indian art by Jonathan King; and a discussion of aesthetic theory in relation to this art form by Judith Ostrowitz.


Ralph T. Coe is former director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Eugene V. Thaw is a well-known collector; Jonathan King is a curator at the British Museum; and Judith Ostrowitz is an independent scholar.

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