Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Letter to the Collectors

Dear Aunt Etta and Aunt Claribel,

I am writing you from Earth.  You know that though, cause you are in Heaven.
Well, I have some questions for you about your famous art collection.  First of all,
did you know that you were collecting and introducing Modern Art to America?

And how did you feel when the Chicago Museum told you that you were collecting
trash--Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Cezanne and so forth?  What was Picasso like?
Did he really give you some drawings off his floor at Bateau Lavoir in exchange for the
Funnies from the New York Times?  What about Matisse?  Etta, did he really stay with
you in Baltimore, Maryland late in his life?  Was he a colorful man?

There are so many questions to ask.  What was the most enjoyable thing about
traveling to Europe on steamers?  You must have met many interesting and famous
people.  Was Gertrude really a bitch?  And not such a great writer!  But you liked
Leo a lot.  Didn't he help you choose quite a few pieces of art?  I know he sold you
art from his Paris apartment when he needed the cash.  Speaking of which, is it
true Etta that when you offered the 3000 piece collection to the Baltimore Museum
of Art they said that they could not take it due to lack of space?  And did you offer
to build them a new wing?  That is amazing.  Glad you had the
money and the vision.  Did you know what vision you had?  I've read that you
and Claribel had the art for decoration and enjoyment purposes.  How cool!

And your brothers in North Carolina were making denim and flannel which was
quite profitable.  Levi was a big customer among so many others.  So Moses and
Ceasar would send you stipends of profits?  Were you ever worried that money would

Who was your favorite artist?



1 comment:

  1. These are all interesting questions. My hunch is that Claribel and Etta were tough cookies, and had their brothers tried to cut them off they would make a trip to Greensboro to settle things. All I know is what I have read, which is admittedly not a lot. However in the book written about the two "Claribel and Etta" it references an intriguing life they lived together. I hope that somehow they do know that they made the single most significant contribution to the Modern Art world that has ever been made. Somehow I think they do. You and I cannot count the number of people that have had a chance to view the collection. It seems as though my friend your Family is pretty famous for "spreading the love" for others to enjoy. I also think they would be proud of you. I know I am.

    Kenneth Maddox, Greensboro, NC.