Joseph Cornell

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Joseph Cornell
Taglioni's Jewel Casket (1940) by Joseph Cornell[1]
Born(1903-12-24)December 24, 1903
DiedDecember 29, 1972(1972-12-29) (aged 69)
New York City, US
Known forAssemblage, experimental film, sculpture

Joseph Cornell (December 24, 1903 – December 29, 1972) was an American visual artist and film-maker. For his art, he did not paint or draw. He put together pictures and objects that he found. This kind of art is called "collage" and "assemblage." He often arranged things inside of wooden boxes that he made himself.[2]

Cornell was born in Nyack, New York in 1903. He had two sisters. His younger brother Robert had cerebral palsy. After his father's death in 1917, the family moved to a house on Utopia Avenue in Bayside, Queens in New York City. He lived there from 1929 until he died in 1972.[3]

From 1917 to 1921, Cornell went to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, but he did not graduate. After that, he worked as a salesman and, later, as a textile designer in New York. He walked around the city and found many things to collect in used bookstores and junk shops.[3][2]

In the 1930s he started making movies out of parts of other old movies. These and his collages and boxes were influenced by surrealism, an art and literature movement that made things that felt strange, like dreams.[3]

His first public show was in Surréalisme at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, along with art by Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp.[4][3]

Cornell died of a heart attack at home in 1972, a few years after the deaths of his mother and brother.[2]

Selected films[change | change source]

  • Rose Hobart (1936)
  • Children's Party (c. 1940)
  • Cotillion (c. 1940)
  • The Midnight Party (c. 1940)
  • The Aviary (1955)
  • Gnir Rednow (1956) (made with Stan Brakhage)
  • Mulberry Street (1957)
  • Boys' Games (1957)
  • Centuries of June (1955) (made with Stan Brakhage)
  • Nymphlight (1957)
  • Flushing Meadows (c. 1965) (made with Larry Jordan)
  • A Legend for Fountains (1957–1965)
  • Bookstalls (1973)
  • By Night with Torch and Spear (1979)

References[change | change source]

  1. "Taglioni's Jewel Casket". Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Simic, Charles (2011). Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell. New York: New York Review Books. pp. 16, xii, xiv. ISBN 9781590174869.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Laing, Olivia (2015-07-25). "Joseph Cornell: how the reclusive artist conquered the art world – from his mum's basement". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  4. "The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation". The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation. Retrieved 2023-03-16.

Other websites[change | change source]