The Boxes of Joseph Cornell

“Shadow boxes become poetic theaters or settings wherein are metamorphosed the element of a childhood pastime.” – Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell was not a sculptor, a draftsman, or a painter. He never had professional training. He was first and foremost a collector. He loved to dig through old book shops, flea markets, and junk shops all over New York in search of beautiful, but forgotten objects – souvenirs, theatrical memorabilia, old prints and photographs, music scores, French literature – with which he would create his treasures.




The boxes are meant to enchant.  To evoke ideas, memories, fantasies, and dreams; to create a feeling and an emotion that is child-like and playful, but overwhelmingly meaningful at the same time.


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