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Herbert James Bowkett Coe

Herbert James (Jim) Bowkett Coe was born in Timaru in 1917. He received formal art training at the Canterbury University College School of Art, but developed his own style, which departed from conventional painting traditions.

View Herbert James Bowkett Coe’s war art »

During the Second World War Coe served in the Pacific, with the Third Division, Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. His primary military service was in the Solomon Islands, where he commanded a platoon in C Company. Coe’s experience in the Solomons formed the subject of his four paintings held in the National Collection of War Art, which were painted after his return to New Zealand in 1946. Two of these were purchased for the Exhibition of Official War Paintings by New Zealand Artists in 1952. The other two were donated to Archives New Zealand by Coe in 1995.

During the war Coe sketched portraits of soldiers for them to send them home to their family and friends. After the war he became active in the arts community, and later established the School of Design at the Wellington Polytechnic.

Coe died in 2003.