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Joseph Cornell:
An American Artist
For an Art Activity Based on the Work of Joseph Cornell, click here
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was a American artist who produced fascinating works of art in boxes that contained sets of everyday objects that were carefully positioned behind glass. His work transformed the commonplace into the extraordinary.

Joseph Cornell's works were truly original, nostalgic, and mesmerizing. His unique works often consisted of boxes that contained sets of fascinating objects carefully positioned behind glass. Cornell roamed New York's second-hand stores and dime stores to purchase his materials, inexpensive ordinary objects which he assembled works of timeless art.

Cornell was born on December 24, 1903, in Nyack, New York, and had no formal training in art. He moved to Flushing, Queens, New York, in 1929. He produced his boxes at night in the basement of the Utopia Parkway house he shared with his mother and his handicapped brother Robert. During the day, Cornell worked as a woollen-goods salesman and textile designer. Cornell never married.

Cornell died at home on December 29, 1972; he was cremated and then buried in a small, wooden box.

Joseph Cornell did not achieve great fame in his life, but is now acknowledged as one of the great artists of the 20th century.

For a page on Joseph Cornell works in the Guggenheim Museum, click here.

The Webmuseum page on Cornell.




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