Joseph Cornell was a renowned American artist and filmmaker who is best known for his signature shadow box constructions made of bric-a-brac collected from dime stores and used book merchants in New York City. One of his fascinating artworks that showed his creative streak was a piece created between 1946-48, titled “Untitled (Paul And Virginia).” This artwork showcased Cornell’s ability to elevate box construction to a major art form in the 20th century.
The artwork depicts two figurines, Paul and Virginia, placed inside a small wooden box, which measures 22.5 x 17.8 x 10.2 cm. The figures are arranged against the backdrop of printed pictures of clouds with their arms outstretched towards one another, symbolizing an embrace or perhaps even a dance. The figures are constructed from various materials such as wood dowels, bottle corks, metal washers or other found objects representing expansiveness and flight.
Cornell’s use of shadow boxes enabled him to create magical tableaux full of depth while playing with perspective resulting in a truly extraordinary effect on the viewer.Cornell’s work has deeply influenced various art movements through time including Pop Art and Minimalism creating an everlasting legacy that continues to inspire upcoming generations of artists around the world.
In commemoration of Joseph Cornell’s fifty years since passing away, many collections featuring some of his most unique pieces will be exhibited at various galleries worldwide offering individuals with an opportunityto experience the innovative works by this profound artist first hand.