Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Cornell from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

Joseph Cornell 1903–1972 Am. artist


Summary Article: Cornell, Joseph
From Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

(born Dec. 24, 1903, Nyack, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 29, 1972, New York, N.Y.) U.S. assemblage artist. He had no formal artistic training. In the 1930s and ’40s he was associated with the Surrealists in New York City (see Surrealism). He was an originator of the assemblage; his most distinctive works were “boxes,” usually with glass fronts, containing objects and pieces of collage arranged in elegant but enigmatic compositions. Recurrent motifs include astronomy, music, birds, seashells, glamour photographs, and souvenirs of travel. His appeal rested on the Surrealist technique of irrational juxtaposition and on nostalgia.

Birth Place: Nyack, New York, United States

Death Place: New York City, New York, United States

Name: Cornell, Joseph or Joseph Cornell

Gender: male

Nationality: American

Activity: American sculptor and filmmaker

Keywords: Cornell, Joseph, Joseph Cornell, American, Nyack, sculpture, assemblage, New York City, New York

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Copyright 1994-2017 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc

Related Articles


Full text Article Cornell, Joseph (1903 - 1972)
The Bloomsbury Guide to Art

His works are distinctive and coherent, consisting primarily of a series of assemblages in boxes. He filled his boxes with...

Full text Article Cornell Joseph (1903 - 1972)
A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

Joseph Cornell was an untaught, highly original American artist. His works consist of collections of objects and fragments in...

Full text Article Cornell, Joseph
Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1903-72 US artist He was born in Nyack, New York State. A self-taught artist, he was one of the first exponents of a form of sculpture called "assemb

See more from Credo