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
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About Untitled (Hotel du Cygne)

Joseph Cornell’s Hotel Boxes demonstrate his fascination with travel, particularly throughout Europe. The boxes intersect themes from other series, such as bird boxes and Navigation, creating an interconnected narrative within his work. Cornell was an American artist and filmmaker known for his unique form of assemblage in shallow wooden boxes.

One of the notable works in the Hotel Box series is Untitled (Hotel Du Cygne). This piece showcases a miniature hotel scene complete with vintage postcards, trinkets, and photographs. The muted color palette adds to the nostalgic feel of the artwork, evoking a sense of timelessness as though it could have been created at any point in history. The meticulously arranged objects carry heavy symbolism; for example, a stack of cards with French writing suggests that the hotel was once frequented by travelers who may have used them to communicate while on their journeys.

Cornell’s lifelong interest in travel permeates throughout his artwork, especially in Hotel Boxes like Untitled (Hotel Du Cygne). These pieces not only offer glimpses into different cultures but also transport viewers to another time and place. Their dreamlike quality encourages reflection on experiences and memories while serving as inspiration for future adventures.

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