A Summertime Rush of Art Collecting
The Steins were not the only Jewish American family interested in collecting the strikingly profound works of the Modernist era; in fact, they were friends with Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone, who visited the expats and were captivated by the Parisian art of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The art of these and other artists of the avant-garde like Gauguin, Delacroix, Renoir, and Cézanne are featured in an exhibition at the Jewish Museum, “Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore”, open until September 25 before heading to Vancouver next summer.
The Cone sisters collected 3,000 works over a period of fifty years, ending in 1949 with Etta’s death, upon which she donated the massive collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art. Rather than promoting the myth that the Cones were dilettantish or superficial in their endeavors, curator and catalog author Karen Levitov seeks to portray them as true savants, accounting for their connoisseur taste in art in this “collection of collections.” At long last, the show brings the legacy of the Cone sisters to New York, with not only a selection of prints, paintings, and sculptures of early 20th-century Europe, but uncommon Asian and African decorative arts of the period and an interactive virtual tour of their adjoining Baltimore apartments.