BLOWING ROCK —Two much-heralded exhibits are arriving this week at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum to celebrate the legacy of the Cone family in North Carolina.
The first, “Modern Visions, Mountain Views: The Cones of Flat Top Manor,” opened July 30, while the second, “Modern Visions, Modern Art: The Cone Sisters in North Carolina,” opens Aug 3. Both exhibits run through Nov. 30.
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 13 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 36, Claribel was a research pathologist and president of the Woman’s Medical College in Baltimore. Etta, at age 30, 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 more than 500 works by Henri Matisse.
The Cone sisters collected paintings, sculptures and prints, as well as textiles, jewelry and trinkets for personal enjoyment, but they also believed that art encouraged vital conversations in an increasingly complex world. To ensure that such conversations were ongoing, the sisters bequeathed their collection to two museums: the Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland and the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, N.C. For those who are familiar with the Cone sisters, as well as those who have never heard of them, this exhibition offers a chance to learn new stories about these fascinating women, their family and their famous art collection.
Modern Visions, Modern Art: The Cone Sisters in North Carolina
This exhibitions will display a variety of art including 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.
Modern Visions, Mountain Views: The Cones of Flat Top Manor
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Modern Visions, Mountain Views depicts the Cone family in Blowing Rock, where “Denim King” Moses H. Cone and his wife, Bertha, built their grand manor. The exhibition includes family letters, estate records, and items they purchased on a world tour with Moses’ sisters, Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta.