Defense d’Afficher (1939) by Joseph Cornell

Defense d'Afficher - Joseph Cornell - 1939

Artwork Information

TitleDefense d'Afficher
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions8 15/16 x 13 15/16 x 2 1/8 in.
Art MovementSurrealism
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About Defense d'Afficher

Defense D’Afficher is a famous installation artwork created by Joseph Cornell in 1939. The piece belongs to the style of Surrealism and was highly regarded within the art community. Cornell was a major figure in American Surrealism, known for his assemblage works housed in shallow wooden boxes. Additionally, he was influenced by the Surrealist movement and was also an avant-garde experimental filmmaker.

The artwork Defense D’Afficher Object consists of a hinged wooden case filled with assorted miniatures that are arranged as if they have some concealed narrative discovery or humorous punchline lurking at their heart. Its intricate details, such as the use of glass domes to house many tiny objects and old fashioned ventilation grills included in the back panel of this particular construction, create an intriguing visual experience that delights audiences to this day. It’s easy to understand why Salvador DalĂ­ famously called it “the only truly Surrealist work to be found in America.”

Overall, Cornell’s work expanded critical and public appreciation of him as a modern American master who pushed boundaries within art and film. He continues to inspire artists today with his creative genius and innovative approach to mixed media installation works like Defense D’Afficher Object.

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