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Hotel du Nord (Little Dürer), c. 1950

Joseph Cornell

American, 1903-1972
Assemblage: painted box, metal ring and chain, wood blocks, printed paper, reproductions of Durer's "Self-portrait at age 13," Durer's drawing of a rabbit, and a reproduction of an anonymous fifteenth century portrait of a child with clasped hands
13 x 12-1/4 x 4 in. (33 x 31.1 x 10.1 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase with funds contributed by the Charles and Ellamae Storrier-Stearns Fund and Fellows Acquisition Fund
P.1967.10
Art © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Not on view

Using found materials from New York City thrift stores, Joseph Cornell created dozens of fantastical worlds in glass-covered boxes. A self-taught artist, he rarely left his home in Flushing, Queens, where he lived with his mother and cared for his brother with cerebral palsy. Despite his rather reclusive life, Cornell was extremely well read and equally well versed in the contemporary New York art scene. Drawing on the complexity and whimsy of surrealism, he layered materials in his assemblages to speak to a profound artistic sophistication championed by fellow artists. Here he has reproduced Albrecht Dürer’s Self-Portrait at Age 13 in a prominent position, as well as an anonymous 15th-century portrait of a child with clasped hands. The incorporation of portraiture here is multilayered, speaking to Cornell’s affinity with the artists who have preceded him as well as to the formal qualities found in the pictures themselves.


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