Untitled (Apollinaris) (c. 1954) by Joseph Cornell

Untitled (Apollinaris) - Joseph Cornell - 1954

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (Apollinaris)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions15 15/16 x 9 3/4 x 4 3/8 in.
Art MovementSurrealism

About Untitled (Apollinaris)

The artwork entitled “Untitled (Apollinaris)” was created by artist Joseph Cornell in the year 1954. Joseph Cornell was renowned for his contributions to the Surrealist movement, and this particular work can be characterized as an installation piece. The dimensions of the artwork are 15 15/16 x 9 3/4 x 4 3/8 inches. The use of found objects and the assemblage technique are evident in this work, which typifies Cornell’s signature style within the broader context of Surrealism.

The artwork presents a collage of what appear to be vintage hotel advertisements and related ephemera, carefully arranged within a wooden box that serves as a frame. The central motif of the display shows an advertisement with a fanciful illustration of a small island or landmass populated with exotic vegetation and birds, appearing to float on a body of water. The word “Apollinaris” is conspicuously positioned at the bottom, most likely referring to a brand of naturally carbonated mineral water that Cornel might have been repurposing as an artistic reference or comment.

Above and below this central image, there are additional pieces of paper, each featuring the name and information pertaining to different hotels, like “Hotel Blue Star” and “HOTEL DES TROIS ROIS”, among others. These snippets carry hints of European cultures and locations, invoking a sense of nostalgia and wanderlust. The objects are layered in a manner that gives depth to the box and creates a sense of a small, intricate world contained within.

The carefully composed artifacts inside the box tell a unique narrative, encouraging the viewer to explore the stages of discovery and interpret the connections between the disparate elements. Through this encapsulated ensemble, Cornell achieves a dreamlike tableau that invites contemplation on themes such as travel, memory, and the passage of time.

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