Joseph Cornell’s “A Parrot for Juan Gris” is a part of a 20-piece series known as the Homage to Juan Gris, created in the years 1953-54. The main protagonist of the series is a white-crested cockatoo that is taken from an old print dating back to the 19th century. Cornell was inspired by Gris’s “The Man at the Café” collage and used it as a reference point while creating his own pieces.
The series features 18 boxes, two collages, and one sand tray that shows Cornell’s shift towards Cubism and how Gris influenced his work. The exhibition “Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris” showcased this series. This proves how important his work was in showcasing elements of French painting during their time.
Born in New York City in December 1903, Joseph Cornell was an unassuming artist but highly inventive throughout his career. He often worked with found objects such as old prints, photographs or dime-store trinkets which he re-used to transform into charming artworks showing complex themes such as nostalgia or memory loss. His artwork remains highly regarded today for its unique style and distinct visual language that continues to influence modern-day artists around the world.