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Pablo Picasso, Woman with Bangs, 1902. Oil On Canvas, 24 1/8 x 20 1/4 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © Succession Picasso 2011.

BaltimoreThe internationally renowned Cone Collection of modern art is the crown jewel of the BMA. In the early 20th century, Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone visited the Paris studios of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and began assembling one of the world‰'s most important art collections. They acquired an exceptional collection of approximately 3,000 objects, which were displayed in their Baltimore apartments. The highlight is a group of 500 works by Matisse, considered the largest and most significant in the world. The sisters also acquired masterpieces by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh, as well as a variety of textiles, jewelry, furniture, and African, Asian, and Near Eastern art. 

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Pablo Picasso, Self-portrait (Bonjour Mlle Cone), 1907. Pen And Brown Ink, 8 5/16 x 5 ½ in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © Succession Picasso 2011

In 1898, Etta Cone began collecting art with the purchase of five paintings by American Impressionist Theodore Robinson to decorate her family home. Supported financially by the successful Cone textile business, Claribel and Etta made annual trips to Europe to purchase art. They often visited avant-garde writer Gertude Stein and her brother Leo in Paris, and through them became acquainted with a wide circle of artists, musicians, and writers who would influence their collecting. In 1906, Etta Cone met Matisse who later fondly referred to Etta and Claribel as "my two Baltimore ladies."  

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Henri Matisse, Dancer Reflected in Mirror (Danseuse reflétée dans la glace). Crayon Transfer Lithograph, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.12.202 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse l Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 

Etta's initial purchase of several drawings marked the beginning of a life-long passion for Matisse's art. Among the artist’s first patrons, the Cone sisters collected throughout his entire career 42 oil paintings, 18 sculptures, 36 drawings, 155 prints, and seven illustrated books, as well as 250 drawings, prints, and copper plates from the artist’s first illustrated book, Poésies de Stéphane Mallarmé. The sisters also acquired 114 works by Picasso, including an important group of prints and drawings from the artist’s early years in Barcelona to his Rose period in Paris (1905–1906.) 

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Pablo Picasso, At the Circus, 1905. Drypoint With Printed Tone, 12 15/16 x 9 15/16 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © Succession Picasso 2011

The Cone Collection grew to include such masterworks as Matisse’s iconic Blue Nude (1907) and Large Reclining Nude (1935), Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry (c. 1897), Paul Gauguin’s Vahine no te vi (Woman of the Mango) (1892), and Pablo Picasso’s Mother and Child (1922). During their extensive travels, the Cone sisters also purchased important works by American artists; more than 1,000 prints and drawings and illustrated books; a large group of textiles; jewelry, furniture, and other decorative arts; African art, Japanese prints; and antique ivories and bronzes. 

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Henri Matisse, Blue Nude, 1907. Oil On Canvas, 36 1/4 x 55 1/4 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.228 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Large Reclining Nude, 1935. Oil On Canvas, 26 x 36 1/2 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland,1950.258 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Paul Gauguin, Vahine no te vi (Woman of the Mango), 1892.Oil On Canvas,28 5/8 x 17 1/2 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland

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Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1922. Oil On Canvas, 39 3/8 x 31 7/8 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © Succession Picasso 2011

Competition among museums for The Cone Collection began as early as 1940, but Claribel insisted that it go to The Baltimore Museum of Art if “the spirit of appreciation for modern art in Baltimore became improved.” Thus achieved, the collection came to the BMA upon Etta Cone’s death in 1949, and has been on view in the BMA’s Cone Wing since 1957. It has been the subject of exhibitions at prestigious museums around the world and was celebrated in Baltimore in 2001 with redesigned and expanded galleries referred to by The Wall Street Journal as “…the most illuminating installation of a museum’s permanent collection (or part of one) in recent memory.” 

 

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Henri Matisse, The Convalescent Woman (The Sick Woman), 1899. Oil On Canvas, 16 5/16 x 15 1/8 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.225 © 2010 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Max Weber, The Bathers, 1909. Oil On Canvas, 15x18 1/8 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA © Estate of Max Weber, Courtesy of the Gerald Peters Gallery

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Henri Matisse, The Pierced Rock, 1920. Oil On Canvas On Pressed Paperboard,14 7/8 x 18 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.234 © 2010 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, The Music Lesson, Two Women Seated on a Divan, 1921. Oil On Canvas, 21 5/8 x 25 13/16 in, Baltimore Museum of Art,The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.242 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse,  Painter in the Olive Grove, 1922. Oil On Canvas, 23 7/8 x 28 7/8 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.239 © 2010 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Festival of Flowers, 1922. Oil On Canvas, 25 7/8 x 36 5/8 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.240 © 2010 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Anemones and Chinese Vase, 1922. Oil On Canvas, 24 x 36 1/2 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.248 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Large Girl Reading (Grande liseuse), 1923. Crayon Transfer Lithograph, 20 1/4 x 16 1/8 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.12.150 © 2009 Successinn H. Malisse l Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Standing Odalisque Reflected in a Mirror, 1923. Oil On Canvas, 31 7/8 x 21 3/8 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.250 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Still Life, Bouquet of Dahlias & White Book, 1923. Oil On Canvas,21 3/8 x 25 1/2 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.249 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Interior, Flowers and Parakeets, 1924. Oil On Canvas, 46 x 28 5/8 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © 2009 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent, Ornamental Background and Checkerboard, 1928. Oil On Canvas, 21 5/8 x 14 7/8 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.255 © 2009Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, The Yellow Dress, 1929-1931. Oil On Canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 3/4 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.256 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Pablo Picasso, Untitled (Pierrot and Harlequin), 1930. Color Stencil Or Pochoir, 12 1/16 x 9 3/16 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © Succession Picasso 2011.

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Henri Matisse, Interior with Dog, 1934. Oil On Canvas, 61 x 65 3/4 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.257 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, The Blue Eyes, 1935. Oil On Canvas, 15 x 18 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.259 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, The Embroidered Dark Blouse (Woman in Red Chair), 1936. Oil On Canvas, 13 7/8 x 9 1/2 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.260 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Purple Robe and Anemones, 1937. Oil On Canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 3/4 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.261 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Striped Robe, Fruit, and Anemones1940. Oil On Canvas, 21 3/8 x 25 1/2 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.263 © 2010 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Two Girls, Red and Green Background, 1947. Oil On Canvas, 22 1/8 x 18 1/4 in., Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, 1950.264 © 2009 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Reclining Odalisque with Checkerboard. Pen And Black Ink With Scraping, 15 1/8 x 19 15/16 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © 2009 Succession H. Malisse l Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, The Reflection in the Mirror (Le reflet dans la glace). Etching On Chine Collé, 15 x 11 1/4 in, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © 2009 Successinn H. Malisse l Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Henri Matisse, Seated Nude, viewed from behind (Nu assis, vu de dos). Crayon Transfer Lithograph, 50.3 x 33.1 cm, Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland © 2009 Successinn H. Malisse l Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York