Like Us!

Worth Watching
  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.
« Did You Know? | Main | Brâncuși: Elegance in Simplicity »

The Cone Sisters: Matisse’s “Two Baltimore Ladies”

Photograph of Claribel Cone, Gertrude Stein, Etta Cone - 1903 - Cone family pictures, The Baltimore Museum of Art (click photo for larger image)Claribel Cone (1864-1929) and Etta Cone (1870-1949), bolstered by their wealthy brothers (founders of Cone Mills), became ardent supporters of Henri Matisse in the 1910s. (You can read more about Matisse here on What About Art?) While the nature of the artist’s relationship with the sisters is unclear, the truth of their inspiration is undeniable.

Five-hundred works by Matisse in the Cone Collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art form the largest and most representative group of his works of art in the world. The Cone sisters also purchased and acquired many of Picasso's works (whom they’d met through Gertrude Stein). In addition, they purchased fine arts by American artists, more than 1,000 prints, illustrated books, and drawings. Prior to the museum’s receipt of the collection, it became so large that it overtook their homes. Claribel (who was also a physician and researcher) rented a second apartment to hold what she called her “museum”.

The sisters developed relationships with some of the most famous artists of their day. Etta Cone even played an active role in Matisse’s Large Reclining Nude of 1935. ­­While he was painting the work, Matisse had it photographed and sent 22 photographs to Etta in Baltimore. 

After Claribel’s death, Etta commissioned Matisse to paint her sister’s portrait. Instead, she received four drawings of Claribel and six of Etta, which Matisse gave Etta as a gift, to express his gratitude to the sisters who had been such strong supporters of his work.

While the collection remained private until Etta's death, she occasionally loaned pieces to museums to exhibit. Claribel had willed her paintings to Etta, stipulating that these pieces should eventually be given to the Baltimore Museum of Art "if the spirit of appreciation of modern art in Baltimore should improve.” It is to that museum that the bulk of the collection eventually was given.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>