Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore

In the early 1900s Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone visited the Paris studios of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and began assembling one of the world’s most important art collections. Supported financially by the successful Cone textile business, Claribel and Etta made frequent trips to Europe to purchase art.

Art Exhibition previously on at The Jewish Museum in United States.
From Friday 06 May 2011 to Sunday 25 September 2011

Matisse - Striped Robe Fruit and Anemones - smaller image

Published by anonymous on Saturday 26 March 2011.
Contact the publisher.

They often visited avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo in Paris, and through them became acquainted with a wide circle of artists, musicians, and writers who influenced their collecting.

Etta Cone met Matisse in 1906, and her initial purchase of several drawings marked the beginning of a life-long passion for his art. Among Matisse’s first patrons, the Cone sisters befriended the artist and collected his work throughout his entire career. The sisters also acquired works by Picasso, including an important group of drawings from the artist’s early years in Paris and one of his signature Blue period paintings, which will be on view.

The Cone sisters amassed an exceptional collection of approximately 3,000 objects, which were displayed in their Baltimore apartments. The highlight of the collection is a group of 500 works by Matisse, considered the largest and most significant in the world. Adding to their collection, they eventually purchased major masterpieces by Gauguin, van Gogh, Courbet and other primarily-French avant-garde artists. Claribel and Etta Cone bequeathed their extensive collection of art and objects to The Baltimore Museum of Art upon Etta’s death in 1949.

Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore features 51 of these works of art—including paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Renoir, van Gogh and more—on loan from The Baltimore Museum of Art. In addition to modern masterpieces, the exhibition includes textiles and decorative arts from Europe, Asia and Africa the Cones collected as well as photographs and archival materials to highlight the remarkable lives of the Jewish sisters Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone. Also featured will be an interactive virtual tour of the sisters’ adjoining Baltimore apartments, showing the artworks, textiles, and other objects they collected as they displayed them.