The Cone Sisters Collect

  • Nov 3, 2012 – Feb 17, 2013
  • Gallery 6
Ladislas Medgyes, "Gafsa (Tunisia)", 1926, graphite on paper, 11 1/4 x 8
3/8 in. Bequest of Etta and Claribel Cone, 1949.

Did you know?

In 1898, Etta Cone received $300 to spruce up the family home. Rather than buying new curtains or sofa pillows, Etta purchased five paintings by the American Impressionist Theodore Robinson from the artist’s estate sale in New York. Thus began the Cone Sisters lasting passion for collecting modern art.   

The Weatherspoon Art Museum first began collecting works of art in the 1940s, and received an astonishing bounty in 1950 when Etta Cone bequeathed part of her and her sister Claribel’s collection to the museum. The Weatherspoon was the beneficiary of a gift of 242 objects including work by Raoul Dufy, John Graham, Marie Laurencin, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Jacques Villon, among others. Part of this vanguard collection will be on view this fall and winter as a complement to the exhibition, Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore, on view at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from November 4, 2012 through February 10, 2013.

The exhibition is organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

Related programs:

Will Read for Food, Art + Music: Public Tour • Thu Nov 15 @ 6:30pm

Guest Lecture: Etta Cone's Displays of Comprehension • Sun Nov 18 @ 2pm

Educators Workshop: The Collector's Eye | Part 1 • Thu Nov 29 @ 6pm

Noon @ the 'Spoon • Tue Jan 8 @ 12pm

Educators Workshop: The Collector's Eye | Part 2 • Sat Jan 12 @ 9:30am

Art for Lunch: Curator Talk • Wed Jan 30 @ 12pm


The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, presents Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore as a complement to the Weatherspoon’s The Cone Sisters Collect. The exhibition is on view November 4, 2012 - February 10, 2013.  

See related events at the Nasher Museum of Art

Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone amassed one of the world’s greatest art collections during the first half of the twentieth century. Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters tells this story and features more than 50 of these masterpieces–including paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Renoir, van Gogh, Pissarro, Courbet and more–all on loan from The Baltimore Museum of Art.

In addition to modern masterpieces, the exhibition includes textiles and decorative arts from Europe, Asia and Africa that the Cone sisters collected, as well as photographs and archival materials to highlight the remarkable lives of these sisters. Also featured in the exhibition will be an interactive virtual tour of their adjoining Baltimore apartments, showing their remarkable collection as it was displayed in their home.

All works are from the collection of The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland.

Nasher members enjoy a 15% discount* at the Weatherspoon Art Museum Store. This special discount will be available from Nov 3, 2012 - Feb 17, 2013.


* Excludes already discounted and consignment items.


We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.