Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall) (1945-46) by Joseph Cornell

Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall) - Joseph Cornell - 1946

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions20 1/2 x 16 x 3 1/2 in.
Art MovementSurrealism

About Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)

“Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)” is an artwork by Joseph Cornell dated to 1946, exemplifying the Surrealist movement. This piece is an installation with dimensions of 20 1/2 x 16 x 3 1/2 inches. As part of his body of work, Cornell was known for his innovative box constructions, which often incorporated found objects and ephemera to create new narratives and poetic associations.

The artwork presents a box construction akin to a miniature stage or shrine. In the central portion, there appears to be a framed image or portrait. Around this focal point, the artist has meticulously arranged a series of smaller compartments, each containing photographs or fragments, which create a matrix of related visual elements. At the top, there are rows of small circular openings, possibly to give the impression of an arcade or theatre marquee. The use of these openings, filled with subtle detailing, adds depth and texture to the piece. The color palette is subdued with dark, earthy hues that evoke a sense of antiquity and mystery. The precise usage of space within the box creates an intimate viewing experience, inviting the observer to peer closely and discover the intricate details Cornell has composed. The installation’s character is immersive and evocative, characteristic of the enigmatic and dream-like qualities celebrated in Surrealist art.

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