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Artist Name:

Joseph Cornell

Nationality & Life Dates:

American, 1903–1972

Title:

Cassiopeia

Date:

ca. 1957

Medium:

Box construction with paper, metal, photomechanical reproduction, tempera, clay, cork, glass, and wood

Dimensions:

9 5/8 x 15 1/8 x 3 11/16 inches

Credit Line:

Gift of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation

Accession Number:

1993.157

Copyright:

© The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Currently Not on View
Joseph Cornell shared the European Surrealists’ fascination with the subconscious but approached his subjects with a romantic whimsy free from Surrealism’s ominous overtones. For Cornell, childhood represented unfettered imagination and provided an endless source of inspiration. Thus games and child-like fantasy are ever-present aspects of his work. Part of a series frequently referred to as Soap Bubble Sets, this work includes objects and themes that symbolize Cornell’s Dutch heritage, such as the white clay pipe. The blue ball represents both a soap bubble and the moon as it rolls across the sky—an allusion invoked by the title Cassiopeia, the name of a star.



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