A Retrospective of Joseph Cornell's Major Works

01
of 22

Untitled (Schooner), 1931

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Schooner), 1931. Collage on paperboard. 4 1/2 x 5 3/4 in. (11.4 x 14.6 cm). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Photo: Lee Stalsworth. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

This 2006 retrospective, Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination, was organized by ten themes, each of which represents a recurrent motif in Cornell's work. Please note: titles given to certain pieces here in this image gallery may vary from those you've seen before. Cornell almost never titled his work; Cornell scholars have, however, and are sometimes led make changes as new scholarship emerges.

Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (where it premiered and was on view November 17, 2006-February 19, 2007) and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts (April 28-August 19, 2007). Its third scheduled venue was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (October 6, 2007-January 6, 2008).

02
of 22

Untitled (Tilly Losch), ca. 1935–38

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Tilly Losch), ca. 1935–38. Box construction. 10 x 9 1/4 x 2 1/8 in. (25.4 x 23.5 x 5.4 cm). The Robert Lehrman Art Trust, Courtesy Aimee and Robert Lehrman, Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Gulezian/Quicksilver. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York


 

03
of 22

Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), 1936

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), 1936. Box construction. 15 3/4 x 14 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (40 x 36.2 x 13.9 cm). Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. Photo: Allen Phillips. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Purchased through the gift of Henry and Walter Keney.

04
of 22

Cabinet of Natural History: Object, 1934, 1936–40

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Cabinet of Natural History: Object, 1934, 1936–40. Box construction with photographs on paperboard. Closed 3 1/4 x 9 3/4 7 3/8 in. (8.3 x 24.8 x 18.7 cm). Private collection. Photo: George R. Staley. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York


 

05
of 22

Untitled (Flying Machines), ca. 1938

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Flying Machines), ca. 1938. Collage with ink on paper. Sheet 10 3/4 x 9 in. (27.3 x 22.9 cm). Smithsonian American Art Museum. Image © Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Gene Young. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
06
of 22

Taglioni's Jewel Casket, 1940

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Taglioni's Jewel Casket, 1940. Box construction with blue glass. Closed 4 3/4 x 11 7/8 x 8 1/4 in. (12.1 x 30.2 x 21 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image © MoMA / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, New York. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Gift of James Thrall Soby, 1953.

07
of 22

Untitled (Tamara Toumanova), ca. 1940

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Tamara Toumanova), ca. 1940. Collage with tempera on paperboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation. Photo: Lea Christiano. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
08
of 22

Medici Slot-Machine: Object, 1942

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Medici Slot-Machine: Object, 1942. Box construction with painted glass. 15 1/2 x 12 1/4 x 4 3/8 in. (39.4 x 31.1 x 11.1 cm). Private collection. Photo: Hickey-Robertson. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York


 

09
of 22

Untitled (Great Horned Owl with Harvest Moon), ca. 1942

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Great Horned Owl with Harvest Moon), ca. 1942. Box construction. 22 3/4 x 13 1/8 x 6 in. (57.8 x 33.3 x 15.2 cm). The Robert Lehrman Art Trust, Courtesy Aimee and Robert Lehrman, Washington, D.C. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Photo: Mark Gulezian/QuickSilver

10
of 22

Duchamp, ca. 1942–53

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Duchamp, ca. 1942–53. Paperboard box with notes and correspondence, magazine and newspaper clippings, drawings, objects, and exhibition announcements. Closed 3 3/8 x 14 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (8.6 x 36.2 x 32.1 cm). © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Collection Philadelphia Museum of Art.

11
of 22

Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall), ca. 1945–46

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall), ca. 1945–46. Box construction with blue glass. 20 1/2 x 16 x 3 1/2 in. (52.1 x 40.6 x 8.9 cm). The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection. Photo: Michael Tropea. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York


 

12
of 22

A Swan Lake for Tamara Toumanova: Homage to the Romantic Ballet, 1946

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). A Swan Lake for Tamara Toumanova: Homage to the Romantic Ballet, 1946. Box construction with blue glass and painted glass. 9 1/2 x 13 x 4 in. (24.1 x 33 x 10.2 cm). The Menil Collection, Houston. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Gift of Alexander Iolas.

13
of 22

Soap Bubble Set, 1949–50

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Soap Bubble Set, 1949–50. Wood box construction with glass and mixed media. 14 3/4 x 19 3/4 x 4 1/4 in. (37.5 x 50.2 x 10.8 cm). Smithsonian American Art Museum. © Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Gene Young. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Museum purchase made possible by the American Art Forum.

14
of 22

Untitled (Cockatoo with Watch Faces), ca. 1949

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Cockatoo with Watch Faces), ca. 1949. Box construction with inoperable music box. 16 1/4 x 17 x 4 7/16 in. (41.3 x 43.2 x 11.3 cm). The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection. Photo: Michael Tropea. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
15
of 22

Observatory: Corona Borealis Casement, 1950

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Observatory: Corona Borealis Casement, 1950. Box construction. 18 1/8 x 11 13/16 x 5 1/2 in. (46 x 30 x 14 cm). Private collection, Chicago. Photo: Michael Tropea. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
16
of 22

Untitled (Window Façade), ca. 1951

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Window Façade), ca. 1951. Box construction with painted glass. 19 1/4 x 13 x 4 1/2 in. (48.9 x 33 x 11.4 cm). Private collection. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging Inc. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
17
of 22

Untitled (Blue Sand Fountain), ca. 1953

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Untitled (Blue Sand Fountain), ca. 1953. Box construction. 12 x 8 1/4 x 4 in. (30.5 x 21 x 10.1 cm). Private collection. Photo: Dennis Helmar. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
18
of 22

Trade Winds #2, ca. 1958

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Trade Winds #2, ca. 1958. Box construction. 11 x 16 7/8 x 4 1/16 in. (28 x 42.9 x 10.3 cm). The Robert Lehrman Art Trust, Courtesy Aimee and Robert Lerhman, Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Gulezian/Quicksilver. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
19
of 22

"Fountain of Youth" Flushing, Summer 1959, October 15, 1959

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). "Fountain of Youth Flushing," Summer 1959, 1959. Collage on Masonite. Image: 11 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (29.2 x 21.6 cm). Frame: 14 1/2 x 11 9/16 in. (36.8 x 29.4 cm). Private collection. Photo: Dirk Bakker/ARTBOOK. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
20
of 22

Interplanetary Navigation, ca. 1962

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Interplanetary Navigation, ca. 1962. Collage with ink on Masonite. Image: 11 3/8 x 8 1/2 in. (28.9 x 21.6 cm). Frame: 15 7/8 x 12 7/8 in. (40.5 x 32.8 cm). Collection Satoshi Yokota, Japan. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York
21
of 22

"Penny Arcade" series re Autumnal, October 14-15, 1964

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). "Penny Arcade" series re Autumnal, October 14-15, 1964. Collage with ink and pencil on Masonite. Image 12 x 9 in. (30.5 x 22.9 cm). The Dicke Collection. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging Inc. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York


 

22
of 22

Le Vierge, le Vivace et le Bel Aujourd'hui, June 29, 1970

©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York; used with permission
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Le Vierge, le Vivace et le Bel Aujourd'hui, June 29, 1970. Collage with pencil on Masonite. Image: 14 x 12 1/16 in. (35.6 x 30.6 cm). Frame: 18 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. (46.4 x 36.2 cm). The Robert Lehrman Art Trust. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Courtesy Aimee and Robert Lehrman, Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Gulezian/QuickSilver.