The Virtual Coe Being together while being apart....
November 27, 2020
Can you see the bear?

David Frank’s (Ahousalt, Nuu-chah-nulth) faithful depiction of an Orca demonstrates a close observation of these sea mammals. The whale seems to be suspended in the moment of breaching the ocean’s surface. Unknown to us is whether or not the whale realizes it has a bear hitching a ride on its back.

The rattle was made in two pieces attached together, painted, with beaded eyes, and a red mouth. Small pebbles are in the whale’s body. The rattle’s handle sits below the tail.

The bear sitting atop the Orca may likely represent a Nuu-chah-nulth cultural narrative in which a bear transforms into a whale, a story of personal growth and cultural awareness. Frank’s production of this rattle informs us of the strength and continuity of Nuu-chah-nulth people who continue to live in their ancestral homelands on what is known today as Vancouver Island.

Learn more about this piece here.
David Frank (Ahousalt, Nuu-chah-nulth, ?-1980), Whale Rattle, c. 1920.
Wood, paint, beads, and pebbles(?), 11.75 x 4.375 in. NA0162

Time for the beach?

These three bathing beauties created by Seferina Ortiz (Cochiti, b. 1931–d. 2007) embody so many complex layers of history, craft, family, collecting, and even politics. The potters of Cochiti Pueblo have been recognized by non-Natives for their clay figurines since at least the 1880s–when tourism and trains exploded onto the Southwest.

While these early figurines, often wryly depicting the very tourists who came to consume them, faded in popularity with collectors over the early twentieth century, a resurgence in such works began in the 1960s in the hands of Cochiti potters who maintained and expanded this form. While the outside market saw these pieces as tourist fare, figurines such as these are deeply rooted in ancient and entirely Indigenous forms that continue to be adapted reflecting the surrounding world. Seferina’s mother, Laurencita Herrera, was a leading artist in mid-twentieth century Cochiti figurines. Seferina’s work was part of that important legacy, and broadly speaking, the very history of the clay that she and her family and ancestors gathered and continue to fuel the work of her children and grandchildren.

Learn more about these pieces here.
Seferina Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo, b. 1931 – d. 2007), Mermaid and Swimmers, 1987.
Clay, organic and mineral pigments, dims vary. NA1047abc 

Experience is
the "awe" in awesome!

This gold cuff bracelet by Haida artist Robert Davidson is a prime example of precision and perfection all in one. It shows expertise in the handmade quality of sharply hammered lines that depict a double eagle using form line designs and ultra-precise crosshatching in the middle.

An excerpt from Ted Coe: “When staying in Vancouver for a day or two in the company of Rev. Tom Weiderholdt, Leona Lattimer, who had made a great success out of running the Vancouver Centennial Museum Gift shop, since she knew all the best contemporary Northwest Coast artists well and who was coming along, told me to “come right over’ because she had a very important bracelet by Robert Davidson that she had just obtained from him. I hustled over to the shop and was treated to this wide gold bracelet that depicts a double eagle in a very abstract way. It was made precisely at the time when Robert was, probably through the influence of his printmaking, rethinking the formal traditional elements of NWC in a new and refreshing way. This bracelet was the result of such thinking.”


To learn more, click here.
Robert Davidson (Haida), Bracelet, c. 1980-1982. 22K Yellow Gold, 1.75 x 3 in. NA0187.

In case you missed it...

On November 24, Collections Spotlight was hosted by Evelyn Vanderhoop (Gaw Gitanee clan, Haida). Evelyn is an artist of traditional Northern Northwest Coast textiles. In case you missed it, you can view this enriching experience here.

Collections Spotlight, a program developed in partnership with First American Art Magazine, is an interactive, online monthly discussion that brings together diverse scholars and Native artists who select artworks from the Coe’s collection to interpret and discuss. The virtual Zoom format also brings together attendees from diverse regions. Attendee questions are accepted throughout the experience via chat, and at the end opened to audio. These events are free and open to the general public.

To view all past recorded events on the Coe YouTube channel, click here.

Unknown artist (Tlingit or Haida), Chilkat, c. 1850.
Mountain goat and commercial sheep's wool, cedar bark, dyes, 48 x 61 in. NA1313.


The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is a private operating 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent of the Internal Revenue Code. Please donate online or mail checks to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts, 1590 B Pacheco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Your support creates connection. Thank you.

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