Biography of Herring Coe
The Clifton Steamboat Museum is proud to have a large exhibit of sculptures done by Matchett Herring Coe, a talented artist from the Beaumont area. Matchett Herring Coe was born in Loeb, Texas (now Lumberton, Texas) in 1907 and lived in the Beaumont area for most of his life. He was a Lamar College graduate. His works have been featured at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. Mr. Coe’s works won national and state awards throughout his career.
Among his best known works include the competition he won to design and cast a bronze statue of:
"Lt. Richard W. Dowling
Hero of the Civil War Battle of Sabine Pass, Texas"
for the 1936 Texas Centennial. The statue has stood at the Sabine Pass State Park, site of this battle, since its 1936 dedication. Mr. Coe later attended the Cranbrook Institute , and during World War II, he was with the Seabees on Guadalcanal. Mr. Coe's sculptures may be seen on the Houston City Hall building, Rice University, Lamar University, and other buildings in Southeast Texas.
Several of his best known works include his commissioned sculpture of Confederate hero Dick Dowling at Sabine Pass, Texas, and his frieze commemorating school children killed in an explosion at New London, Texas. This frieze depicts school children changing classes shortly before the explosion and was awarded first place honors by a distinguished panel of Texas sculptors. Herring Coe also created the statue of the Texas Confederate Veteran featured at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. He served on Guadalcanal during World War II.
The special one quarterscale version of the Dick Dowling statue at Sabine Pass was commissioned especially for David W. Hearn, Jr. As an exhibit piece, it is also helpful in illustrating the various steps in the lost-wax casting process, one of Herring Coe's preferred artistic media. After the death of Mr. Coe in 1999, his sister, Mrs. Waldo Coe Wilson donated 72 of his art pieces, 67 of which are exhibited in the Clifton Steamboat Museum.