And while I am definitely impressed by the amazing art they collected and that is now available for public to admire, I am also equally intrigued by the Cone sisters. I think it is always so interesting to learn about artists but also about the collectors and their motivations for art buying. I recently wrote about Steve Martin's "An Object of Beauty" so this blog is a further exploration of the art world.
The Cone sisters, Claribel and Etta, of Baltimore, Maryland, were important early 20th century socialites and philanthropists. Claribel taught pathology; Etta was a pianist. Their contributions to the art world started ina1901 when they traveled extensively to Europe on long trips. The sisters enjoyed the company of Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. Etta started the collection with her first purchase of painting by Theodore Robinson with the goal to decorate the family home.
The sisters never married and lived in adjacent apartments in Baltimore. The interiors of the apartments are highlighted at the Cone collection section of the Museum. The sisters, while sharing passion for art, had their own strategies for art collecting. Etta had a lifelong love for Matisse's art. She was interested in small acquisitions to help out up-and-coming artists. Etta was conservative in her purchases, often setting budgets no longer than 10,000 francs for a painting or a group of drawings. By contrast, Claribel was more adventurous; she collected more avant-garde works and was willing to spend larger amounts of money. Their unique attitudes contributed to this outstanding collection of objects.
Their collecting partnership is just so special. If you have a chance, browse the halls of the Baltimore Museum of Art and delve into the wonderful world of the Cone Collection!