Cornell, Joseph

Cornell, Joseph

biographical name

(born Dec. 24, 1903, Nyack, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 29, 1972, New York, N.Y.) U.S. assemblage artist. He had no formal artistic training. In the 1930s and '40s he was associated with the Surrealists in New York City (see Surrealism). He was an originator of the assemblage; his most distinctive works were “boxes,” usually with glass fronts, containing objects and pieces of collage arranged in elegant but enigmatic compositions. Recurrent motifs include astronomy, music, birds, seashells, glamour photographs, and souvenirs of travel. His appeal rested on the Surrealist technique of irrational juxtaposition and on nostalgia.

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