The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta & Claribel Cone
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.
Japanese prints on the walls of his rue de Fleurus studio were overwhelmed by the works of these four artists and their more obscure offspring. And Leo himself found an occupation—collector. The Leo who haunted Paris’ galleries was rail thin, and his long rabbinical beard made him look drawn, the very picture of an aesthete. But his emaciation seemed even more extreme next to his younger sister. Gertrude was a short, round woman of 30, who, taking a cue from her brother, covered herself in brown.
At eleven, Etta would sweep her skirts around the corner of the hotel, away from the crowds of vacationers, and into the sanctuary of the gallery. It was not necessarily Luçerne that held her, but the proximity of art and conversation—conversation that usually centered on her collection. Since Claribel's death, Etta had lacked an intimate with whom she could discuss the thing she cared about most in life. In her cousin Siegfried, she found that person. That summer was to be the first of her.
Than. . . MDHS, Cone, Sydney Jr., Cones of Bavaria, 127-128. 7. If Moses felt it necessary. . . Edward T. Cone interview, Nov. 21, 1992. 8. She utterly exasperated Moses. . . Pollack, The Collectors, 92. 9. During a journey down the Nile. . . ibid, 92. 10. Moses purchased stone Buddhas. . . ibid, 92-93. 11. On February 6, 1907, from Cairo, she wrote. . . “Every whit of my oriental. . .” ibid, 91. 12. When she did, she stepped. . . Sprigge, Gertrude Stein Her Life, 81. 13. From Cairo, she.
To EC, Sept. 14, 1924. 37. “I am not quite sure. . .” BMA CCol, CC to EC, Sept. 10, 1924. Lausanne, 1926-1929 1. “I'm beginning the buying. . .” BMA CCol, CC to EC, Sept. 2, 1924. 2. A Marie Laurencin oil from 1908. . . Richardson, B., Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta, 175. 3. Meanwhile, Claribel did not share. . . ibid, 110. 4. It was Cezanne's “La Montagne. . .” ibid, 109-110. 5. At one point, Claribel cabled. . . . “Bought pictures. Cable me. . .” Pollack, The Collectors, 182. 6. After.
. . Sprigge, Gertrude Stein Her Life, 199. 40. Georges Braque, Andre Salmon, Tristan. . . ibid, 196-197. 41. Etta showed no concern for Gertrude's. . . Edward T. Cone interview, Nov. 21, 1992. 42. “Dear Gertrude,” she wrote in reply, “your very kind. . .” Yale SteinCol, EC to GS, Aug. 9, 1933. 43. Explaining to her family members. . . Cone, Edward T., “The Miss Etta Cones,” 456. Baltimore, 1934 1. “Lent by. . . that was their identity. . . .” JHU, George Boas notes. 2. In 1934, a.