SAT Writing and Language Practice Test: The Art of Collecting

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The Art of Collecting

At an art exhibition for artist Henri Matisse, enthusiasts can also view a black and white photograph of two siblings. These sisters, wearing Victorian-style dresses and top hats, are the renowned art collectors Claribel and Etta Cone. When Etta passed away in 1949, she 1 bequeathed some 3,000 objects to the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Now, works from the Cone Collection, internationally renowned and consisting of masterpieces by early 20th century artists, travel on loan from BMA so that people can experience the Cone sisters' visionary passion for and dedication to modern art. 2

What made the Cone sisters innovative was their recognition of the value of art pieces by virtually unknown avant-garde artists of their time, such as Pablo Picasso. Critics failed to understand the Cones' 3 tastes and such opinions did not squelch the sisters' passion for collecting. According to Katy Rothkopf, senior curator at the BMA, Matisse's use of vibrant color, for example, was initially shocking. "At first the Cones … really found [the art] quite scary," states Rothkopf. However, the siblings befriended Matisse and other artists, gaining respect for the painters' unorthodox experimentation. As the Cones began buying and collecting art, 4 there selections improved.

"It took a lot of gall—guts—to paint it," Matisse once said about a controversial painting, "but much more to buy it." Claribel and Etta had that kind of gall. 5 Each had took risks by not purchasing traditional landscape paintings and instead amassing works that at the time were considered contemptuous and wild.

[1] A further legacy of the Cone Collection was its documentation of post-World War I Europe. [2] The art the Cones collected 6 suggested changes in Europe, such as the increasing use of machines in contemporary life and the emergence of modern thinking. [3] Traditional limitations in art were overcome by experimental forms and new media, allowing artists to explore their creativity. [4] Today, there are even more experimental forms of art than there were after World War I. 7

8 Additionally in visiting Paris, Budapest, Athens, Cairo, and Shanghai, the Cones represented the beginning of the new woman at the turn of the century. 9 Though their unconventional lifestyle, the far-seeing Cone sisters experienced freedom from narrower roles. They avoided the gross inequalities between genders by becoming connoisseurs of radical art. 10

Public acceptance of the 11 Cone's avant-garde collection testifies to their accomplishments. While the estimated value of their artwork is one billion dollars, their larger contribution is inestimable. As bold patrons, the Cones advanced appreciation for modern art for generations to come.


  • B. liquidated
  • C. delivered
  • D. allotted

2. Which choice most effectively establishes the central idea of the paragraph?

  • A. Henri Matisse was a well-known supporter of female artists and art patrons, and he revealed these unconventional attitudes in his work.
  • B. Together the Cones, supported by the wealth from their family's textile business, gathered one of the finest collections of French art in the United States.
  • C. The Cones became great contributors to the Baltimore Museum of Art, and their renowned exhibition was praised by artists around the globe.
  • D. During this time period, only the wealthy could afford to purchase original artworks, and the Cones became famous for spending their entire fortune on art.


  • B. tastes, so such opinions
  • C. tastes therefore such opinions
  • D. tastes, but such opinions


  • B. they're
  • C. their
  • D. her


  • B. They took risks
  • C. They have taken risks
  • D. Each will take risks


  • B. depicted
  • C. referenced
  • D. divulged

7. Which sentence should be deleted from the paragraph to improve its focus?

  • A. Sentence 1
  • B. Sentence 2
  • C. Sentence 3
  • D. Sentence 4


  • B. Additionally, in visiting: Paris,
  • C. Additionally, in visiting Paris,
  • D. Additionally in visiting Paris


  • B. Therefore
  • C. Thorough
  • D. Through

10. What changes to the paragraph would best strengthen the author's claims?

  • A. The author should define the terms new woman and narrower roles.
  • B. The author should list more nations and cities visited by the Cone sisters.
  • C. The precise centuries referenced by turn of the century should be included.
  • D. The author should add reactions from contemporary critics to the Cones' travels.


  • B. Cones'
  • C. Cones
  • D. Cones's