Feature Articles

March Issue 2002

The Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, Offers Works from Cone Collection

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, will present rarely-seen treasures from its permanent collection - including works by Pablo Picasso, John Graham and other major figures of the modern era - in an exhibition entitled, Matisse and More: The Claribel and Etta Cone Collection, on view through May 26, 2002. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Will South.

The exhibition is part of the museum's year- long celebration of its 60th anniversary in 2002. During the year, the Weatherspoon will present a series of permanent collection exhibitions, providing audiences with a view of the museum's basic mission - to exhibit, interpret and preserve modern and contemporary art.

Matisse and More is the first of three exhibitions that will open at the museum this year in honor of the Cone family legacy and its continuing relationship with the Weatherspoon. Raised in Baltimore, MD, Claribel and Etta Cone were sisters of Greensboro textile magnate Moses Cone. They began collecting art in the early 1900s, when modern art was still not widely known, let alone appreciated. Most of their enormous collection was left to the Baltimore Museum of Art and today is world-renowned. Less widely known is the generous gift left by Etta Cone to the Weatherspoon in 1949, comprised of 240 pieces, including 67 prints and six bronzes by Henri Matisse. Today, the Cone collection forms a cornerstone of the museum's 5,300-piece permanent collection, and reveals the Cone sister's adventurous spirit of collecting and belief in the value of experimental art.

Twenty-five pieces from this bequest will be on exhibition in Matisse and More. Other artists represented will be Félix Valloton (woodcut, Edgar Allen Poe), Marie Laurencin (color lithograph, Young Woman with Flowers) Jacques Villon (color intaglio etching, Olympia, After Manet) Ben Silbert (etchings of Etta and Claribel Cone) and others. Other highlights include four works by Picasso, including a lithograph, The Coiffure, a color aquatint etching, Paolo as Harlequin with Flowers, a drypoint etching Two Acrobats, and an etching, The Poor.

A six-page illustrated gallery guide will accompany the exhibition, which includes an essay by South and a full checklist.

A curator, author and art historian, Dr. Will South oversees acquisitions and the care and management of the Weatherspoon's permanent collection, conducts research for publication, and oversees the museum's database system. He has written numerous books, catalogs, and journal articles, including Color Myth and Music: Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Synchromism and The Life and Art of Conrad Buff. He is author of California Impressionism, published by Abbeville Press, and, in 1998, Signature Books published his Andy Warhol Slept Here? Famous and Infamous Visitors to Utah. Prior to coming to the Weatherspoon in 2000, South was research curator of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City. He received his Ph.D. in art history from City University of New York.

On Mar. 17, at 2pm, John Hallmark Neff, a Matisse scholar and director of Reynolda House, Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, NC, will speak about the heady atmosphere of Paris in the 1910s and '20s, when aspiring artists from all over the world rubbed shoulders with Matisse and Picasso, and when collectors vied with each other to acquire the latest and most outrageous works of art. Neff will place the Cones in context with other pioneering collectors of modern art in the US and Europe.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNCG began in 1942 as a one-room gallery at what was then Woman's College. Today, it has six exhibition galleries in the award-winning Cone Building, on the corner of Spring Garden and Tate Streets in Greensboro. Presenting approximately 20 exhibitions per year and housing one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary art in the Southeast, the Weatherspoon draws thousands of visitors annually.

For more information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 336/334-5770, or check the web at (http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu).

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