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The Claribel and Etta Cone Collection

Claribel and Etta Cone were two of thirteen children of Herman and Helen Cone, mid-19th-century German-Jewish immigrants who achieved success in America in the dry goods and grocery industry and whose sons developed the South’s textile industry. Prosperous and well educated, the sisters were raised in Baltimore, where Claribel (1864-1929) graduated first in her class from Woman's Medical College and Etta (1870-1949) managed the family’s domestic details. In 1898, while redecorating the family's Victorian-style parlor, Etta purchased five paintings by American Impressionist Theodore Robinson. These were the first acquisition in what would become a lifetime of collecting. Etta shared her love of art with her older sister Claribel, and the two began buying artworks in earnest in the autumn of 1905 and winter of 1906. The profits from the family's textile business provided the sisters with a lifelong allowance that insured their financial independence and funded their many purchases. In Paris, the Cone sisters met Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and began to collect their works when modern art was still not widely known, let alone appreciated. The sisters’ adventurous spirit in collecting over the next forty years resulted in the formation of one of the most important collections of modern art in America. Eventually, the women gave about 3,000 works of art to the Baltimore Art Museum, where they may be seen today. They also donated 242 artworks to the Weatherspoon. As mentioned, the Cone family was successful in the textile business, and many of their mills were located in the South. Moses Cone, brother of Claribel and Etta, built a vacation home in North Carolina at Blowing Rock. Etta was a frequent visitor there, as were other members of the Cone family. One such member was Etta's sister-in-law, Laura Weill (Mrs. Julius) Cone. Laura Cone was a loyal alumna of UNCG. She knew that the Weatherspoon Art Gallery had been founded on campus in 1942, and knew, too, that the young organization was struggling to get established. Laura Cone asked her sister-in-law, Etta, if she would consider making a donation of art to the Weatherspoon. In her will dated May 18, 1949, Etta left to Woman’s College (as it was known then) an astonishing collection of sixty-seven Matisse prints and six Matisse bronzes as well as a large number of modern prints and drawings, including works by Pablo Picasso, Felix Vallotton, Jacques Villon, Raoul Dufy and John Graham. Due to their light sensitivity, prints from the Cone collection are exhibited at WAM on an occasional basis.

Showing 1 to 25 of 36 Records

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Title Artist Medium & Support Creation Date Accession Number
L'Italienne d'après Modigliani (The Italian Woman after Modigliani)   Villon, Jacques   aquatint on Arches paper  1926 
Olympia d'après Manet (Olympia after Manet)   Villon, Jacques   aquatint on paper  1926-1927 
Tete d'enfant (Head of a child - Pierre Matisse)   Matisse, Henri   bronze  1904-1905 (cast 1912) 
Madeleine I   Matisse, Henri   bronze  1901 (cast 1925) 
Petit nu au polochon (Small nude with cushion)   Matisse, Henri   bronze  1918 (cast 1925) 
Nu appuyé sur les mains (Nude leaning on hands)   Matisse, Henri   bronze  1905 (cast 1922) 
St. Paul Street   Graham, John   charcoal on cream paper  c. 1929 
Portrait of a Woman   Stein, Sarah   charcoal on paper  n.d., possibly c. 1908 
Paulo en arlequin avec fleurs (Paulo as Harlequin with Flowers)   Picasso, Pablo   color etching on paper  1923 
La Cavaliere (The Rider), from the suite La vie de chateau (Life in the castle)   Laurencin, Marie   color lithograph on paper  1926 
La grande baigneuse (The Large Bather)   Dufy, Raoul   color lithograph on paper  c. 1928 
Jeune fille accoudee au paravent fleuri (Young woman leaning on elbows before flowered screen)   Matisse, Henri   crayon lithograph with scraping on paper  1923 
Cortot (mondain) [Cortot (worldly)]   Matisse, Henri   crayon transfer lithograph on Japanese vellum paper  1926 
Nu couche a la coupe de fruits (Reclining nude with a bowl of fruit)   Matisse, Henri   Crayon transfer lithograph on paper  1926 
Les deux saltimbanques (Two Acrobats)   Picasso, Pablo   drypoint on paper  1905 (printed 1913) 
Tete de trois-quarts droite (Head turned three-quarters to right)   Matisse, Henri   drypoint on paper  1926 
Deux femmes en costume de ville (Two Women Dressed in Finery)   Matisse, Henri   drypoint on paper  1900-1903 
Nu au collier et aux cheveux longs (Nude with necklace and long hair)   Matisse, Henri   etching on paper  c. 1920 
La chemise Arabe (Arabian shirt)   Matisse, Henri   etching on paper  1926 
Portrait of Miss Etta Cone   Silbert, Ben   etching on paper  1926 
Portrait of Dr. Claribel Cone   Silbert, Ben   etching on paper  1926 
Man Drawing from a Cast   Van Rijn, Rembrandt   etching on paper  c. 1641 
Prince Receiving Three Visitors, Protected by an Armed Guard   Unidentified artist   gouache on paper  n.d., late 17th century - early 18th century 
Man Seated Under a Blooming Tree and Drinking from a Goblet   Unidentified artist   gouache on paper  n.d., 18th century 
Seated Nude   Bryant, Everett   graphite and watercolor on newsprint  n.d., 19th century - 20th century 
Showing 1 to 25 of 36 Records