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Associate Director of Development
UI Museum of Art
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: March 11, 2002

Family gives valuable Marvin Cone painting to UI Museum of Art

In 1962, the artist Marvin Cone sold one of his paintings to his friend, the late Gertrude Wylie, for $400. Now, almost 40 years later, the value of the painting, titled "Color Chords," has grown to $30,000, and Wylie's daughters have given it to the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) for display in the museum's permanent collection.

The gift was made through the University of Iowa Foundation by Elinor Wylie Patterson, of Coralville, Iowa; Jayne Wylie Willis, of Sun City West, Ariz.; and Mary Wylie, of Sun City, Ariz.; as well as by the estate of the late Margaret Wylie Apostle, of Grinnell, Iowa. The four women are sisters.

Speaking for the family, Willis said, "We are very pleased to donate this wonderful painting, which we have shared among our homes for many years, to the University of Iowa."

Howard Creel Collinson, UIMA director, expressed his gratitude for the gift on behalf of the museum, saying that the painting "will make a wonderful addition to the university's collection of Cone's work.

"Although he is not as well known as his friend Grant Wood, Marvin Cone is one of the most interesting artists of the regionalist group of the 1930s and 1940s," Collinson said. "In the 1950s and 1960s, he completely changed gears and became an abstract painter. 'Color Chords' is an unusual and very beautiful example of Cone's late abstract work."

The gift was made partly to honor the memory of the sisters' parents, the late Gertrude Wylie and Dr. Clayton Wylie. Clayton and Gertrude Wylie lived in Cedar Rapids, where Gertrude Wylie was a high school teacher for 42 years. Gertrude Wylie graduated from the UI with a B.A. degree in 1911 and an M.A. degree in 1912, and Clayton Wylie was on the faculty of the UI department of physics and astronomy from 1926 to 1954.

All four sisters attended the UI, and Apostle earned a B.A. degree from there in 1946. Willis worked at the UI for many years, and is a member of the Presidents Club of the University of Iowa, which recognizes the university's most generous donors.

Marvin D. Cone (1891-1965) lived most of his life in Cedar Rapids, where he forged a lifelong friendship with legendary painter Grant Wood and taught art at Coe College for more than 40 years.

The UIMA serves the University of Iowa and the surrounding region. The museum's seven permanent galleries represent a collection of about 12,000 works of art, including a world-renowned collection of African art and a collection of European and American art since 1900, which includes works by Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, and other masters. In addition, the UIMA curates and hosts prominent traveling exhibitions.

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives. For more information about the UI Foundation and the UI Museum of Art, visit their web sites at and