My handmade book tribute to Joseph Cornell
My work in progress today is a further version of my tribute to a most extraordinary artist, who continues to keep me curious – and spurs me to add further pages!
Joseph Cornell 1903, Nyack, New York – 1972Flushing, New York
Joseph Cornell, the New Yorker, was a genius at bringing together ephemera, and producing assemblage art in a time when the genre wasn’t really considered as art.He was a collector and a presenter of dreamworlds. Self taught and caring for a poorly brother, he never left New York. He was born into a well to do family but spiralled down into more frugal living conditions when his father died, remaining with his mother and his sick brother until they died. He had a working life as a textile sample salesman which he hated – suffering consequent migraines and eventually left his day job to concentrate on design work. He trawled Lower Manhatten for ephemera to use in his artworks, initially collaging and moving onto his famous shadow boxes. Somewhat reclusive, he retreated into his inner worlds – and kept making his art drawing on fairy tales and mythology,- also making reference to astronomy and the natural sciences, ballet, opera, and film.
“Somewhere in the city of New York there are four or five still-unknown objects that belong together. Once together they’ll make a work of art. That’s Cornell’s premise, his metaphysics, and his religion….- Charles Simic.
His work inhabits the hinterland between the reality we live in, and the dreams we have, the inner realities that can sustain and sometimes seem more meaningful than the exterior lives we lead. And that is why I love him. And that is why that love propelled me to produce my own small tribute to him. A mixture of images from some of his work mixed with my own journeys into unreality. How wonderful for me that this man drew inspiration too from Emily Dickinson – another favourite of mine!
It might be easier
To fail — with Land in Sight —
Than gain — My Blue Peninsula —
To perish — of Delight
Toward the Blue Peninsula: for Emily Dickinson, c. 1953. Box construction. 36.8 x 26 x 14 cm. The Robert Lehrman Art Trust, courtesy of Aimee and Robert Lehrman Photo The Robert Lehrman Art Trust, courtesy of Aimee and Robert Lehrman Photography: Quicksilver Photographers, LLC © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/VAGA, NY/DACS, London 2015.
link to etsy listing
For more information on him please find a wonderful article here https://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/13/arts/design/13corn.html