National Museum of Women in the Arts
Sue Coe
February 21 1951 - present
Photograph of Sue Coe, 1992, by Steve Heller, courtesy of Galerie St. Etienne, New York, NY, USA
Place of Birth:
American, British – English
Phonetic Spelling:
soo coh
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Painting
Artistic Role(s):
Illustrator, Painter, Printmaker
Social Realism
Artist's Biography:
Sue Coe expressed very precociously the desire to become an artist. However, in 1950s working-class Tamworth, England, her teachers told her that she had no talent and should instead pursue a career in shorthand typing. Ignoring their advice, Coe earned a scholarship to Chelsea School of Art at the age of sixteen. In 1970, she enrolled in graphic design at the Royal College of Art.

Coe moved to New York in 1972, where opportunities for illustrators were more plentiful, and published drawings in Rolling Stone, Newsday, and the op ed page of the New York Times. She also taught at New York’s School of Visual Arts from 1973 to 1978.

A self-described “visual journalist,” Coe explores abuses of power and disregard for human justice in her work. Her political consciousness emerged while walking through areas of her hometown that had been destroyed during the Second World War. These early experiences and the subsequent atrocities that she witnessed throughout the world inspired Coe to distribute information through image and text to implement social change.

Coe prefers to publish her work in media accessible to the general public: books, magazines, and newspapers are her favored sites of exhibition. Among other issues, Coe’s art has tackled the themes of economic oppression, sexual exploitation, cruelty toward animals, and political corruption.

Other Occupation(s):
Activist, Instructor, Journalist, Teacher, Writer
Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
Royal College of Art, London, England (1970-1973) Chelsea School of Art and Design, London, England (1967-1970)
Related Visual Artists:
influenced by David Hockney influenced by Käthe Kollwitz influenced by George Grosz
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Earliest exhibition:
All Over Manhattan, Thumb Gallery, London, England (1979)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Artists' Sketchbooks: The Intimate Journeys
Book as Art XII: Artists' Books from the Permanent Collection
The Washington Print Club Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition: Graphic Legacy
Steven Scott Collects: Donations and Promised Gifts to the Permanent Collection
Sue Coe: The Last 11 Days
Sue Coe: The Last 11 Days
Artist retrospective(s):
Sue Coe Retrospective: Political Document of a Decade, Galerie St. Etienne, New York, NY, USA (1991)
My Mother and I Watch a Pig Escape from the Slaughterhouse
The Last 11 Days: July 20th to July 31, 1995
The Last 11 Days: July 20th to July 31, 1995
The Last 11 Days: July 20th to July 31, 1995
The Last 11 Days: July 20th to July 31, 1995
The Last 11 Days: July 20th to July 31, 1995
The Last 11 Days: July 20th to July 31, 1995
We Will Not Go Back