Table setting - Hollyhocks, 1933 oil on board 15 x 13in
PROVENANCE: Doris Cone Weeks By descent to the present owner
LITERATURE: J.S. Czestochowski, Marvin D. Cone: Art as Self-Portrait, Cedar Rapids, 1989, no. 277, pp. 185.
This painting will be included as no. 1933.015 in Joseph Czestochowski's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.
An alternative title for the work is Nude with Hollyhocks.
The work retains its original contemporary frame handcrafted by the artist.
Marvin Cone is perhaps best known for his regionalist paintings of landscapes and barns and for his association with Grant Wood and the Stone City Art Colony. However, his output is more complex and personal. It ranges from the aforementioned regionalist views to interiors, circus scenes, interiors, abstractions and still lifes. To understand his work one must look at his primary source of employment. For forty years he taught painting at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Aside from a sabbatical in 1938-39 when he took out a studio space, he painted in a corner of his living room, subject to the daily but welcome distractions of home and family. Painting, to him, was an intensely private experience.
Cone's still lifes appear to stem from a trip to Paris in the late 1920s. They are simple assemblages of tabletop objects often with a chair rail and an unstretched canvas depicting a study of a modest nude study in grisaille in the background. He pays a very close attention to the pattern and rhythm of the composition. In the present work, it appears that Cone retuned to it at a later date to change the color of the chair from black to white, most likely to balance the broad stripes of the tablecloth below.