10-11-11: Etta and Claribel, Saidie and Blanche
Cherishers of art might take it for granted – of course there were great collections of art put together by wealthy patrons a century or so ago, and of course that art is now seen by the public in spaces like the Baltimore Museum of Art.
But the motivations and methods of those collectors were not at all predictable. Two new books give us insights, in very different ways, into two sets of sisters who made a big impact on art in Baltimore in the early 20th century.
The better known duo was the Cone Sisters. They amassed hundreds of paintings, and eventually bequeathed them to the BMA. Their younger distant cousins, Saidie and Blanche Adler, bought art of many periods for galleries while the Cones were still collecting for themselves.
We hear from Susan Fillion, an artist and museum educator, who has written and illustrated a book for young people about the Cone Sisters. It’s called Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America, and Susan Helen Adler, an art historian and teacher, who has just written the story of Saidie and Blanche Adler in the illustrated book Saidie May.