67
67
Joseph Cornell
UNTITLED (AVIARY SERIES, PARROT WITH TOY BELL)
Estimate
700,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 610,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
67
Joseph Cornell
UNTITLED (AVIARY SERIES, PARROT WITH TOY BELL)
Estimate
700,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 610,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Collection of A. Alfred Taubman: Masterworks

|
New York

Joseph Cornell
1903 - 1972
UNTITLED (AVIARY SERIES, PARROT WITH TOY BELL)
Signed Joseph Cornell on a label affixed to the reverse
Wood and glass box construction with found objects
15 3/4 by 9 1/2 by 4 3/8 in.
40 by 24.1 by 11.1 cm
Executed circa 1953-54.

Please note that in the print catalogue for this sale, this lot appears as number 67T.


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Provenance

Estate of the artist (Estate No. 2253)

Castelli-Feigen-Corcoran (American Dovecote and Shooting Gallery), New York

Acquired from the above by A. Alfred Taubman in November 1980

Catalogue Note

Untitled (Aviary series, Parrot with Toy Bell) from 1953-54 is a captivating and magical habitat, filled with images and objects collected by the enigmatic Joseph Cornell in his wanderings around New York City, and later rearranged into unique tableaux in his studio at home in Utopia Parkway, Queens. With its brilliantly hued parrot set amidst a white-washed background, Untitled (Aviary series, Parrot with Toy Bell) offers Cornell’s poetic alternative to the heroic painterly abstractions of postwar art. In the present work, Cornell unveiled a seductive glimpse into the subtle and mysterious imagery at play in his inner world. An amateur naturalist, Cornell used nature as a conduit to the human psyche, drawing private associations and novel juxtapositions that reveal the mind’s fantasies and fears. The inclusion of birds and other small creatures in his boxes are referents to the symbolism of Surrealist iconography that influenced his earliest works of the 1930s and 1940s. As eloquently embodied in the present work, Cornell’s parakeets, cockatoos, and parrots were a common and sumptuous motif traditionally associated with heaven and freedom.

In December 1949, the Charles Egan Gallery presented Cornell’s first show devoted to the box constructions for which he is so renowned. Titled Aviary, the show consisted of twenty-six bird-dwelling boxes and inaugurated his departure away from the Victoriana and Surrealism of his earlier work toward a more streamlined modernity. In spite of the seeming randomness implied by Cornell’s use of collaged images and material, he produced compositions with great exactitude, pre-determining colors and content to suit an internal narrative much like characters in a theatrical performance. Cornell’s imagery, composed of ordinary objects gathered in bookstores and thrift stores, and inspired by the dioramas in New York’s Museum of Natural History, conveyed a view of nature as a masterly designed environment. Untitled (Aviary series, Parrot with Toy Bell) is an intellectualized version of lyrical beauty, an exact depiction of an unnatural habitat wherein bird, bell and printed matter all comply with the demands of artistic vision.

The Collection of A. Alfred Taubman: Masterworks

|
New York