The BMA exhibition traces the friendship between Matisse and Etta Cone
The Baltimore Museum of Art is the world’s largest repository of the work of the modern French master Henri Matisse and this fall a new exhibition will explore the friendship between the artist and Etta Cone, the Baltimore collector who became befriended Matisse in 1906.
The two maintained a close friendship for 43 years, during which Matisse traveled to Baltimore and created works with Etta and the BMA in mind. Etta and her sister Claribel eventually collected around 700 works by Matisse, according to the BMA, including Blue Nude (1907), The Yellow Dress (1929-31) and Large Reclining Nude (1935).
This new exhibition, “A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone and Baltimore” will retrace their friendship through the letters they exchanged and includes more than 160 paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings and illustrated books.
“For years, researchers have debated the purchases made by the two Cone sisters, with much more credit given to the significant acquisitions of major paintings by the older sister Claribel,” the BMA said in a statement. “’Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone and Baltimore” will for the first time fully recognize Etta’s accomplishments as a collector and recognize her role in constituting the majority of the Matisse collection of the sisters, in particular the sculpture, drawings and engravings. ”
“Etta Cone and Matisse shared a love of gesture and the feminine form, expressed not only through her collection of her major paintings, but through an early and sustained interest in her printmaking and drawing practices. The exhibition begins with a work on paper and ends there as well, ”said Leslie Cozzi, Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at BMA.
The exhibition will feature a wide selection of drawings, including masterpieces that are rarely exhibited due to light exposure restrictions, the BMA said.
“Etta Cone’s dedication to art, and Matisse’s work in particular, has had a profound impact on the BMA and the focused and studied ways in which the museum continues to develop its collection. The upcoming exhibition captures the exciting possibilities that can be realized when artists, collectors and public institutions join in a common vision and commitment. We are delighted to present to visitors the incredible story of Etta Cone and the important works of art she brought to our museum, and to make this exhibition a prelude to the presentations, programs and publications that we will be able to create thanks to our soon to be opened Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies, ”said Christopher Bedford, BMA Director Dorothy Wagner Wallis.
The Marder Center, which is slated to open in December, will showcase the scope of the BMA’s Matisse holdings, while supporting the development of new scholarly publications that advance discussions on the trajectory of modern art, according to a statement.
“A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore” opens October 3 and will be on view until January 2, 2022. Tickets are available at artbma.org. Prices are $ 15 for adults, $ 13 for seniors, $ 12 for groups of 7 or more, $ 5 for students with ID, and $ 5 for youth ages 7 to 18. BMA members, children 6 and under, and student groups are admitted free. For more information, call 443-573-1701.