The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta & Claribel Cone

The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta & Claribel Cone

Mary Gabriel


For four and a half decades, Etta and Claribel Cone roamed artists' studios and art galleries in Europe, building one of the largest, most important art collections in the world. At one time, these two independently wealthy Jewish women from Baltimore received offers from virtually every prominent art museum in the world, all anxious to house their hitherto private assemblage of modern art. In 1949, they awarded all their holdings to the Baltimore Museum of Art. In 2002, that collection was valued at nearly $1 billion, making them two of the most philanthropic art collectors of our age. Yet, for complex reasons, the story of the Cone sisters has never been fully or accurately told.

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