Friend of the Family
Fern Coppedge’s Vibrant Impressionism
24 April 2017
by Mick Byers, Rago Specialist in Fine Art
Fern Isabel Kuns Coppedge (1883-1951) was born in Decatur, Illinois, but spent much of her life in Pennsylvania. She is best known as a Pennsylvania Impressionist and member of the Philadelphia Ten, women artists who, having been blocked from a number of public institutions because of their gender, banded together to exhibit their artwork.
Coppedge first visited Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1917, where she rented a room from a family living in Lumberville. Coppedge and her former landlords became close friends. She bought a studio in Lumberville and, later, a home in nearby New Hope. She gifted several beautiful paintings to members of this family; two have been consigned to Rago’s upcoming Fine Art Auction presented on May 6.
Lot 65 depicts the Lumberville home belonging to her friends. The canal boat seen in the painting is their working boat. This oil on board is sold together with a 1922 edition of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” inscribed “Mrs. Coppedge.”
The second painting, Lot 72, a harbor scene of the Rockport Fish Market in Massachusetts, exemplifies Coppedges’ use of vibrant colors. It has hung with the canal scene since it was gifted.