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Marvin D. Cone (1891 - 1964)

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

5. Portrait of Doris Cone (previously believed to be Leata Rowan), c. early 1930s

Oil on panel, 13 x 15 inches (unframed), 16 x 18 inches (framed)


Attached to the verso is the following information about Marvin Cone: “Marvin Cone, 73, artist whose paintings have been exhibited in major art galleries across the Nation, was on the faculty of Coe College from 1919 until 1960, was known for his red barns and haunted houses, and later for his abstractions; in Cedar Rapids, Iowa." A similar unsigned, 15 x 13 inch vertical oil on panel of Doris Cone reading a book in an interior setting is in the collection of the Cedar Rapids Art Museum.

About the Artist

Born in 1891 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Marvin D. Cone was a well-regarded American Scene, Magic Realist, portrait, and still life painter. In 1906, Cone began a lifelong friendship with Grant Wood, painter of American Gothic. Cone graduated from Coe College in 1914 and then pursued additional studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. World War I halted his studies when Cone traveled to France in 1917 to serve as an interpreter. Two years later, he studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier for several months. Upon his return to Iowa, Cone continued his friendship with Wood and the two went abroad in 1920 to continue their studies. During his time in the US, Cone taught art at his alma mater. Other than Grant Wood, Cone is considered to be Iowa’s most important painter of the first half of the 20th Century. He was closely associated with the Rowans’ Little Gallery in Cedar Rapids and the Stone City Art Colony, also in Iowa. He exhibited widely across the county, including at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Cone is listed in Who Was Who in American Art and all other standard references.


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