Exhibit highlights Victorian sisters' art collection

Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:27am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ellen Freilich

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Works by Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and the two American women who purchased them in the early part of the 20th century, are the focus of a special exhibit at The Jewish Museum.

"Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore," which runs until September 25, includes 51 works of art, 10 textiles, 10 decorative art objects, and a large array of documents and photographs.

It offers visitors a rare chance to see works of art and gain insight into the distinct sensibilities of the two women who collected them.

"The Cones had a unique, consistent eye, and a particular taste," said Karen Levitov, associate curator at The Jewish Museum. "They didn't just buy whatever they came across."

Born in the Victorian era, the Cone sisters, Claribel and Etta, became devotees of avant-garde art. In travels across Europe and to Africa and Asia, they acquired textiles and decorative arts, examples of which are in the exhibit.

The sisters' collections of oils, water colors, drawings, prints, sculptures, rugs and furniture, laces, textiles and fabrics, were an intensely domestic collection at first, but gradually developed into a public patrimony.

At her death, Etta left the entire collection of approximately 3,000 pieces to the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The sisters were daughters of German-Jewish immigrants who had arrived in the United States in the 1840s and whose family name had been Kahn. Claribel and Etta Cone were born, respectively, in 1864 and 1870, two of 13 children. Their father, Herman, after establishing a successful general store in Tennessee, moved the family to Baltimore in 1870.   Continued...

<p>"Landscape with figures" by Van Gogh is shown in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/The Baltimore Museum of Art/Handout</p>