The F.H. Sellers Professor in Painting is best known for her work in traditional genres.
Susanna Coffey is an internationally recognized artist, currently living and working in New York City as well as working in Chicago as the F.H. Sellers Professor in Painting at SAIC. Coffey is perhaps best known for her portrait paintings, primarily of herself, but she also moves across genres with night paintings (cityscapes and landscapes) and flower paintings. “I like that connection to the past that the traditional genres provide. People are moving away from tradition and the weight of history, and I’d rather bear that weight and feel it,” she says.
Coffey’s paintings are in the collections of many museums and galleries, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Art Institute of Chicago; Yale University Art Gallery; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Seville, Spain. She has received numerous awards for her work, most notably the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, she was elected into the National Academy of Design.
Coffey’s paintings are self-portraits about different identities, conveying a collective sense of being, allowing viewers to see individual and societal reactions within the work. “...they are not really about me de facto. They are an ‘us’ kind of thing,” she says of her Beautiful/Work.