Charlotte Buell Coman, a landscape painter from Waterville, New York, came to St. Augustine in 1890. Coman began her artistic career under the tutelage of Hudson River School artist James Brevoort. Brevoort may have introduced her to the French Barbizon style. She later studied in Paris and Holland with Emile Vernier and Harry Thompson.
Coman occupied one of the studios in Artist’s Row at the Hotel Ponce de Leon in 1890 occupying Studio #5, and though she stayed in Lakeland, Florida the following year, she was still mentioned in St. Augustine’s society newspaper, The Tatler. Like many of her contemporaries, Coman was inspired by the French Barbizon School and later the French Impressionists. Her highly regarded watercolors and light ﬁlled landscapes caught the attention of William Macbeth, whose Fifth Avenue gallery in New York was one of the ﬁrst exhibition spaces to represent strictly American painters. Macbeth continued to represent Coman from around 1894 until her death in 1924, which under the instruction of a distant niece, many of her belongings as well as some of her artworks were destroyed.
She was included in many exhibitions during her lifetime, including in the New York Society of Painters Annual Exhibition as well as the California Exposition of Landscape Painters. In addition, she received many honors, including a medal at the Midwinter Exposition in San Francisco in 1894, the Shaw Memorial Prize at the exhibition of the Society of American Artist in 1905, the Second Prize at the exhibition of the Society of Washington Artists in 1906, and the Burgess Prize from the New York Women’s Art Club in 1907, amongst others.
A member of the New York Watercolor Club, the National Academy of Design, and the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, Coman is represented in a number of permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Coman died in Yonkers, New York in 1924 at the age of 91.
Author: Whitney Warren Shafer
Sources: Macbeth Galleries papers, Archives of American Art, reel 2582, letter dated November 6, 1925 from William Macbeth to Charlotte S. Case; Charlotte Buell Coman Art & Artist File, Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library, Washington D.C.