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The Cone Family Legacy

  • Edward Hopper
    United States, 1882-1967
    Head of an Indian, 1900
    Charchoal on paper
    18 x 11 ⅜ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Anne and Benjamin Cone, 1974

    Edward Hopper was an American realist painter and printmaker. While best known for his oil paintings, he also was a proficient watercolorist, draftsman, and printmaker. Both in his urban and rural scenes, his spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life. According to art critic Lloyd Goodrich, he was "an eminently native painter, who more than any other was getting more of the quality of America into his canvasses.”

    In addition to his paintings of urban life, Hopper also produced several works featuring Native Americans. His biography gives no indication that he ever visited the Southwest, so it is safe to assume he relied on other sources for such portraits. They are solitary figures, much like those in many of the artist’s other works.

  • John Graham
    United States, born Ukraine, 1886-1961
    Portrait of Claribel Cone, 1928
    Graphite on paper
    18 x 12 ⅜ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Bequest of Edward T. Cone, 2004

    This image depicts Claribel when she was 64 years old, at the height of her formidability and only a year before her death. The high neck shirtwaist and decorative broach were her favored fashion accessories. A similar, full-length image of Claribel, most likely drawn during the same sitting, is in the collection of The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

    © John Graham

  • Paul Manship
    United States, 1885-1966
    Spearthrower, 1921
    20 ½ x 18 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Anne and Benjamin Cone in memory of Herbert S. Falk, Sr., 1976 

    Directly inspired by classical athletic figures, Manship’s Spearthrower shows the same attention to detail and awareness of how the body moves and balances as the Greek masters. With his weight on his back foot , the muscular figure prepares to throw his spear. Although the sculpture was cast in the round, its primary vantage point is profile, as if the figure were painted on an ancient vase.

    Manship traveled throughout Italy and Greece to study original works of art firsthand, during which time he became interested in the stylistic features and subjects found in Egyptian, Assyrian, and archaic Greek sculpture. One of his best known works is the 1934 gilt-bronze statue of Prometheus (the Greek god who brought fire to mankind), located at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

  • Cindy Sherman
    United States, born 1954
    Untitled, #85, 1981
    Dye destruction print
    23 ½ x 48 ½ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Donald Droll in honor of Anne Wortham Cone, 1983

    Over the years, Cindy Sherman has represented herself as a range of female stereotypes and characters, to examine the construction of identity within Western society. The works should not be construed as self-portraits; rather, they address how we understand and construct our own identity. She invites us to dissect the influence of fictive identities on our own lives and to examine the tension produced between inner perceptions and the outer representation of the self.

    Untitled #85 is part of a series of large, full-color, horizontal photographs commission by Artforum magazine. For the images, Sherman fabricated simple sets and selected her wardrobe from thrift and costume shops to portray scenes that appear to be pulled from recent films. While works do not reference specific films, they represent generic types. Often termed the “Centerfold” series, these photographs depict women in vulnerable situations who often convey a level of fear or anxiety. By leaving the work untitled, Sherman gives viewers room to make their own interpretations, creating yet another fiction within a fiction.

    © Cindy Sherman. Image courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

  • Marion Post Wolcott
    United States, 1910-1990
    Tenant farmer's children, younger one with rickets from malnutrition. Poor, eroded land the result of cotton-tobacco culture. Wadesboro, North Carolina, 1939, printed c. 1980
    Gelatin silver print
    14 x 11 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Museum purchase with funds from the Laura Weill Cone Acquisition Endowment, 2010

    After his election in 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt used his New Deal programs to bring national attention to the plight of American workers. Photographers like Walker Evans and Marion Post Wolcott traveled across the country to document conditions and the impact of government relief efforts among the rural poor. The project that resulted in thousands of poignant images that often played on people's sympathies by showing individuals in trouble, but not in such dire circumstances that any aid provided would not assuage their lives.

    This image depicts two children, the smaller one compromised by a physical disorder caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate that leads to softening and weakening of the bones. Wolcott’s photograph seems to suggest that the afflicted children are besieged by their circumstances, health wise, physically and environmentally.

  • Elie Nadelman
    United States, born Poland, 1882-1946
    Standing Female Figure (Gertrude Stein), c. 1908, cast c. 1926
    30 ¾ x 10 x 9 ⅜ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Anne and Benjamin Cone, 1972

    Born in Poland, Elie Nadelman came to America in 1914, already well known as a modernist. He was interested in all kinds of art: ancient, classical, primitive, folk and contemporary. He worked in a wide variety of media, including bronze, marble, wood, and plaster and was also a prolific and accomplished draftsman. In Standing Female Figure (Gertrude Stein), the artist recast the notoriously immodest Gertrude Stein in the guise of a modest Venus, yet he kept her short-cropped hair and substantive physical girth intact. While Nadelman may have been inspired in his creation by the Greek sculptor Praxiteles, the work’s reductive and stylized distortions of forms are fully modern.

  • John Sloan
    United States, 1871-1951
    Prone Nude (Katherine Wenzel), 1912
    Oil on canvas
    26 x 32 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Anne and Benjamin Cone, 1966

    Sloan's nude pays homage to the grand western tradition of the reclining nude female by such renowned artists as Titian, Francisco de Goya, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Edouard Manet. Sloan's modern-day "Venus" appears to be a self-assured woman enjoying a siesta. Her complacent and oblique countenance assures the (male) viewer that his observation of this intimate scene is fully sanctioned. Although the model is presumably contemporary, the painting veers away from the discomfiting inequities of sex, race, and class that have existed throughout time.

  • Henry Schnakenberg
    United States, 1892-1970
    Edgewater, NJ, 1938
    Oil on canvas
    22 x 32 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Museum purchase with funds from the Laura Weill Cone Acquisition Endowment, 2014

    In 1913, Henry Schnakenberg visited the Armory Show in New York where he had his first exposure to modernist art, a life-changing experience for him. The town of Edgewater, NJ, also underwent a transformation around the turn of the century. Located across from Manhattan on the Hudson River and with easy access to railways, it soon became a thriving hub of 20th-century industry.

    Schnakenberg skillfully advances two opposing mind sets in this painting: the utopian ideal of technology bringing order to the modern world by enhancing the speed, efficiency, and products of everyday life—and the contrasting view that stressed the dehumanizing effects of technology, warning that it would replace workers, create pollution, and dominate the landscape in a destructive manner.

  • B. J. O. Nordfeldt
    United States, born Sweden, 1878-1955
    Houses and Arroyos, from the Santa Fe Etchings, c. 1920, reprinted 1977
    Etching on Rives BFK paper
    17 x 19 ½ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Mr. Edward T. Cone, 1978

    Born in Sweden, Nordfeldt emigrated in 1898 to Chicago, where he studied for a year at the Art Institute. In 1919, along with a number of other Chicago artists, he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he became a member of the Los Cincos Pintores (The Five Painters).

    The series of works that comprise the Santa Fe Etchings point to Nordfeldt’s interest in nature and representation, marrying the two to an abstract tendency. His reduction of the scene to lines and somewhat flattened planes is reminiscent of Paul Cezanne, whose work he would have encountered on one of his many trips to Europe.

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Weatherspoon Art Museum
UNC Greensboro
Corner of Spring Garden + Tate Streets
Greensboro, NC 27402
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