Etta Cone

With her sister Claribel, Etta Cone amassed one of the largest private art collections in the world, becoming a major supporter of artists like Matisse and Picasso. Cone’s father had been a successful textile merchant, and his death in 1897 left her with a substantial yearly income, which she used to travel regularly to Europe. Cone’s patronage of the arts was tied to her friendship with Gertrude Stein, whom she had known in Baltimore, and with whom she reconnected in Paris in 1903. There, Stein convinced Claribel and Etta Cone to support French artists, and Etta Cone spent significant time in Stein’s inner circle in Paris over the next several years, typing Stein’s manuscript of Three Lives and buying paintings by Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, and others, along with Japanese prints and period furniture. Stein immortalized the sisters in her essay “Two Women,” but in 1907, when Stein became more intimate with Alice B. Toklas, Cone felt hurt and her friendship with Stein cooled, then rekindled in 1912, when she resumed her summer trips to Europe. Over time, the sisters collected over two hundred pieces of art, which they willed to the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Topics: Art, Philanthropy

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Claribel Cone, Gertrude Stein, Etta Cone in Italy, 1903.

Illustration by Susan Fillion.

Used by permission of David Godine, Publisher.

Date of Birth

Jonesboro, TN
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Etta Cone." (Viewed on January 17, 2021) <>.


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