Untitled (Hotel du Cygne) (c. 1952-55) by Joseph Cornell

Untitled (Hotel du Cygne) - Joseph Cornell - 1955

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (Hotel du Cygne)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions19 3/16 x 12 3/4 x 4 1/2 in.
Art MovementSurrealism

About Untitled (Hotel du Cygne)

The artwork “Untitled (Hotel du Cygne)” by Joseph Cornell dates back to 1955 and is affiliated with the Surrealism art movement. Measuring 19 3/16 x 12 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches, this artwork is an installation piece that showcases Cornell’s signature assemblage style.

The artwork features a wooden box structure that contains various elements, which come together to create a dream-like visual narrative. At the top of the box are layered pieces of printed paper, suggesting the ephemeral nature of old advertisements or notices with texts that refer to different hotels. This printed matter is reminiscent of fragments from a bygone era, lending a sense of history and memory to the piece.

Beneath these printed pieces, occupying the central visual field, is a cut-out illustration of a classical figure, possibly taken from an old print, which has been placed against a background with a dramatic contrast in color. The figure seems to be in motion, enhancing the dreamy and surreal quality of the piece.

The overall composition of the artwork is carefully arranged, inviting viewers to ponder the relationship between time, memory, and the overlay of images and text. The restrained palette, dominated by faded and stark hues, evokes a sense of nostalgia and reflects Joseph Cornell’s interest in the mysterious and the poetic.

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