Untitled (The Hotel Eden) (c. 1945) by Joseph Cornell

Untitled (The Hotel Eden) - Joseph Cornell - 1945

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (The Hotel Eden)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions15 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

About Untitled (The Hotel Eden)

“Untitled (The Hotel Eden)” is an installation artwork by Joseph Cornell from 1945, which currently resides in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. The piece encapsulates the Surrealist art movement and measures 15 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches, evoking a mysterious and dreamlike atmosphere that is characteristic of Cornell’s oeuvre.

The artwork presents the viewer with a wooden box that contains a diverse array of objects arranged in a seemingly random, yet evocative, composition. The left section of the work contains a grid with a concentric circle design, which gives an illusion of depth and creates a hypnotic effect. To the right of this grid, the central part of the box displays a vibrant and colorful parrot perched on a barren branch, with its striking green plumage highlighted by red and yellow accents. Behind the parrot, layers of text can be discerned from a partially torn paper labeled “The Hotel Eden,” which contributes to the artwork’s title and narrative quality.

In the backdrop, an off-white painted surface peels away, further contributing to the sense of vintage and mystery. Above the parrot and the paper, a small, spherical object is balanced precariously on a horizontal bar, and adjacent to this, a cubical form mirrors the box’s geometric aesthetic. On the bottom right, a cylindrical structure resembling a transparent gauge or vial aligns vertically with the parrot’s composure. The assemblage of these items produces a profound sense of nostalgia and enchantment, inviting viewers to create personal interpretations of the tableau set before them.

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