Coffin Door


Among the last of Williams’ paintings before his death in 1991, this depiction of the famous coffin door at Gallaudet University may be prophetic. In the far recesses of the frame, there appears to be another smaller painting; it is the city of Los Angeles, Williams’ home. At the opposite side stand two classical marble figures on a pedestal, representing the legacy of Greco-Roman art as it has been passed on to us. The boat was to bear Williams away to a New World as the waves lapped against the door. Williams’ interpretation of this work was neither gloomy nor pessimistic, but he may have subconsciously been looking past this life to the next.


Harry R. Williams


Coffin Door


Irvine, 1990




A bright orange door in the shape of a coffin standing up-right on a tile floor. There is a hand coming out from behind the door. In the background is a wave crashing onto shore. There is a window showing a silhouetted skyline and a beached row boat.


Reproduced from Deaf Art Note Card Series: Works of Harry R. Williams
Courtesy of DawnSignPress


Harry R. Williams, “Coffin Door,” RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center , accessed September 24, 2021,