Modern Visions, Modern Art

The Cone Sisters in North Carolina

Dianna Cameron and Carrie Streeter

“Quarter-bound” with Mikura Donsu cloth
9.5 by 11 in.
160 pages

Designed and produced for the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
by Nathan W. Moehlmann, Goosepen Studio & Press

The Cone sisters’ collection is beloved worldwide for both its content and the character of its collectors. Claribel and Etta were daughters of German Jewish immigrants, two siblings in a family of thirteen, and women who embraced many new opportunities of their era. As their brothers grew the family’s business in textiles, and thereby the family’s fortune, the sisters received financial support to pursue their interests. By 1900, at age thirty-six, Claribel was a research pathologist and president of the Woman's Medical College in Baltimore. Etta, at age thirty, had recently altered the aesthetics of their parents' home with the purchase of five impressionist paintings. Their personalities were distinct, but their shared love for travel, education, art, and the avant-garde led them to create a significant collection of modern art, including over five hundred works by Henri Matisse.

Modern Visions, Modern Art: The Cone Sisters in North Carolina presents a compelling selection of works on paper, paintings, and sculptures by artists in the collection who drew the admiration and attention of Claribel and Etta Cone: Henri Matisse, Sarah Stein, Jacques Villon, Marie Laurencin, Ben Silbert, John Graham, Everett Bryant, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gertraud Brausewetter, Ilse Breit, and Bernice Oehler. These works portray bodies in motion, women engaged in acts of self-expression, moments of daily life, and pastoral views of both real and imagined landscapes.