Posts Tagged ‘joseph cornell’

Artist of the moment……Joseph Cornell

Below is Cornell’s work “Pharmacy” which sold for $3.7 million dollars.
Joseph Cornell was born in Nyack, New York in the year 1903. He was quite a versatile artist enjoying the process of painting, sculpting, and film. His father worked in the textile industry.His mother a teacher. Cornell was one of four kids. Cornell was only fourteen years old when his father passed away. The artist lived with his mother and brother for much of his life in Flushing,New York. His brother was handicapped by cerebral palsy. Cornell lived as a recluse for much of his life as he was quite shy and always had to help his siblings.
Working as a fabric salesman was sufficient to pay the family bills until the Depression hit. Via some connections through his mother he landed jobs designing fabrics and page layouts for leading magazines such as Bazaar. As far as the art world goes, Cornell’s assemblage and shadow box works are highly sought after by collectors. Some shadowboxes are even meant to be touched, handled, and played with.
Was a huge fan of the writer Mary Baker Eddy and was devotee to the Christian Science religion.
Price range information: The artist has had some works break the million dollar mark. Collages can range from $50,000 to $ 120,000. Paintings done in oil reach up to $50,000. Acrylics paintings broke the $200,000 barrier. Screenprints are the most affordable with many less than $10,000. A shadow box titled “pharmacy” sold for more than $3 million dollars.
His big break through was after an exhibition in 1949. Sadly the health of his mom and brother started to get worse. Cornell had to hire assistants to help him and even still he could hardly satisfy demand.
Like the great Andy Warhol, Cornell explored film as a medium of expression. These films are very whimsical and sometimes seem as if a shadow box has been brought to life. In this clip view a great clip that features some puppets brought to life. Very similar to the claymation techniques.

In this clip see some of the artists famed shadowboxes.

The artist reminds me of Kurt Schwitters. Schwitters made very impressive collage and assemblages using found materials and include photographs and newspaper articles of the 30s and 40s including some great works that tell about the horrors of the Nazi party. I have blogged about Schwitters before as I love his style.

Another artist working with shadowboxes would be Tom Mosley. Rather than use images of people, Mosley used no colors and basic geometric shapes in much of his shadow box work. Below is a fantastic shadow box made by Mosley.


Artist of the moment…..Barton Benes…

The artist was born in 1942 in the city of Hackensack, New Jersey.  He was known for making shadow box like works of art. These works of art are very personable and sometimes include famous people and celebrity events. Some examples would be a piece done using a piece of cake from the first wedding of Prince Charles. Another example would be using a piece of clothing from an outfit warn by Elizabeth Taylor. He also made many sculptures using shredded american currency he got directly from the Treasury Department. A wonderful example is of the crown of thorns made out of U.S. currency. Very interesting as to how these works can be interpreted.

For his collegiate education the artist attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He also studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, France.

In this clip see a piece of artwork with the subject being a grizzly bear done by Benes. The piece is made up of hundreds of sea shells collected by the artist. In the gallery above the drawers are where he kept his many found items kept to be used in his artwork.

In this clip Benes talks about his donation to the North Dakota Museum of Art.

Benes developed AIDS and passed away from the disease in 2012 at the age of 69 years old.

His works are included in the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of American Art, he National Gallery of Australia, and the North Dakota Museum of Art.

Benes was involved in two movies during his lifetime. One was titled Gay Sex in the 70s and this was documentary in which he gave an interview. Another was a documentary film made about Benes’ artwork in 1997 and  show titled AIDS, LETHAL WEAPON.

Price range info: He worked in many different styles and mediums and when works come to auction they can usually be found for a few thousand dollars.

When he passed away he left all of his belongings to the North Dakota Museum. He loved the place and spoke of it often very fondly. If there was one place in the world I could live it would be North Dakota. I guess this was before the fracking and the balkan shale finds!

If I was to compare the artist to a more modern painter it would be Joseph Cornell. Cornell used shadow boxes and would use his own experiences in his art. Since shadow box artists are hard to come by I have included a clip rather than just one picture to see Mr. Cornell’s work. I will do a full post on Joseph Cornell  later this week.