top of page

Iowa Time Machine: Artist Marvin Cone - Mary 18, 1965

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On May 18, 1965, regionalist painter Marvin Cone passed away. A beloved professor at Coe College and a contemporary of Grant Wood, Cone helped create enduring depictions of Iowa.

Born in Cedar Rapids, Cone attended CR Washington High School. After high school Cone headed to Paris with his high school friend Grant Wood. Returning stateside, Cone attended Coe College and graduated in 1914 before studying for several years at the Art Institute of Chicago. While serving with the Iowa National Guard during World War I, Cone designed the ‘Red Bull’ insignia still worn by Iowa’s troops today.

After the war, Cone studied in France briefly before returning to Cedar Rapids. Hired at Coe to teach French, Cone also resumed his friendship with Wood. Cone and Wood went abroad in the summer of 1920, hoping to improve their technical skills. The visit proved influential, resulting in a stunning series of impressionistic views of picturesque cityscapes and landscapes, Paris streets and gardens, and the French countryside. 

Architecture and landscape fascinated Cone for the rest of his life. In 1932, Cone and Wood started the Stone City Art Colony. :What would be the purpose of that? Let the camera with its clever mechanism imitate,” Cone once said. “Art, such as poetry, music, and painting, is simply a portion of the experience of the artist. When we actually see ideals, they become real to us. Art traces an abstraction and makes it audible or visual. It symbolizes the whole of life. We believe in something we can see.” #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


bottom of page