One conclusion we are likely to draw after visiting the major Matisse museums of the Northeast is how different an impression of the artist each of them yields. Whereas with most artists we can count on a certain predictability from museum to museum, that isn’t the case with Matisse. Each institution seems to have its own idea of who—or what—he is. One of these collections, the Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art, was given a new installation this summer. The collection and the two remarkable women who formed it are the subjects of a new study entitled Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta, by Brenda Richardson, assistant director for art at the museum, who also had charge of the re-installation.[1]

The Cone Collection is notable for including two of Matisse’s most celebrated paintings, the Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra) of...

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