Houses that Jack Built

MARVIN CONE
Houses that Jack Built, oil on canvas, 20 x 36 in., 1960

Currently on display, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Museum purchase, Art Advancement Fund, with gift of Winnifred Cone, 82.10.2

Marvin Cone (1891-1965) was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, where in 1906 he began a lifelong friendship with Grant Wood.  He graduated from Coe College in 1914 and then studied for several years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  After serving in World War I, and then briefly studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montpellier, France, he returned to Cedar Rapids.  With the exception of a couple of trips abroad to improve his artistic skills and enjoy the French countryside, Cone spent the majority of his life in his hometown.  There, he taught art at Coe College for more than four decades, and although he never achieved great fame, he was highly respected by his contemporaries.

Marvin Cone's Architecture

When one thinks of Cone, one often conjures up images of his paintings of Iowa barns.  However, barns were not the only type of architecture that interested him.  Experiences in Chicago, various cities in France, and his life in Cedar Rapids all influenced Cone's depictions of architecture.  Some works are of recognizable places, such as Notre Dame in Paris, but Cone more frequently chose to turn his focus onto the spaces between buildings or points where one building meets another.  These intersections seemed to hold more interest for Cone, as the place where one thing meets another is often visually charged with energy.  This fascination can be seen in his work all the way through to his late Houses that Jack Built.

Houses that Jack Built is included in the exhibition, "Marvin Cone: An American Master."  It is part of the Architecture gallery which demonstrates the persistence of this subject matter throughout Cone's career.  This exhibition is on view at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art through January 20, 2013.  For hours and admission fees, please visit the Museum's website.

Text and image from the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.  Image © Estate of Marvin Cone.

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

This page was first displayed
on January 17, 2013

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