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A Joseph Cornell Album Paperback – September, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: Da Capo Paperback
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306803720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306803727
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.6 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,539,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The small boxes and collages upon which Cornell lavished his immense gifts are now among the most highly prized of contemporary works of art....Ashton dwells at length on those figures whom Cornell held in sacred regard....A great pleasure to read and look at." -- Hilton Kramer, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Dore Ashton's books include A Joseph Cornell Album, Picasso on Art, A Critical Study of Philip Guston, A Fable of Modern Art, The New York School, Noguchi East and West, and A Reading of Modern Art. She lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Ypres on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I should have known better than to buy a book without actually holding it in my hands and giving it at least a cursory once through. One of the editorial reviews said that it was "lavishly illustrated", and that was good enough for me. There simply is not enough books with illustrations of the works of Joseph Cornell. Hence, I bought it, only to find that there's not a single color plate in the whole book. All the illustrations are B&W. Not only that, but most of the photographs of the works are not particularly well done. I admit, I haven't even looked at the text--so, call me provencial. Art books are about art. Art is colorful. In writing a review of a book, I would be ashamed to call it "lavishly illustrated" when not a single plate is in color. What, then, makes it lavish? You've got me. I'm going to bet that you're going to see a lot of used copies of this book in the near future. Frankly, if you need a fix of Joseph Cornell, buy the Prestel Post Cards of Cornell. You'll save money and actually get some idea of what his creative work was about.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David C. Kuss on July 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Joseph Cornell was profoundly inspired by works of poetry, and other literature. In this beautifully written book, first published in 1974, the respected modern art historian, Dore Ashton, explores the relationship between Cornell's poetic art works and the works of poetry and literature (as well as opera, music, dance, and philosophy), which he held in such high esteem. Ashton's own astute observations are punctuated with examples of text by those authors Cornell most admired (including Gerard de Nerval, Emily Dickenson and Mary Baker Eddy), as well as by writing from Cornell himself. The result is an intimate look at the development of Cornell's thought and his unique poetic objects... much as if we were peering into his diaries or sneaking a peak into his working studio. If Cornell's work was clearly indebted to the writings of various poetic predecessors, then later poets more than reciprocate this admiration. The book ends with a special section of elegiac contributions in tribute to Cornell's art, by such esteemed poets as John Ashberry, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Howard and Octavio Paz. Perhaps the sole flaw of this well-written book is its limited amount of reproductions of Cornell's work. There are several fine illustrations of rarely seen pieces, and a number of beautiful photographs of Cornell and his home taken by Duane Michals, but "lavishly illustrated" it is not. If you are looking for great color reproductions of Cornell's collages and boxes, look elsewhere; you will find this book quite inadequate for that purpose. If, however, you are interested in exploring the art and writings that inspired Cornell's work, this may be just the place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By verdi on June 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dore Ashton was the first writer to create a volume on this iconoclastic artist with his cooperation. It is not a biography nor is it a critical examination of his work. It is also not a "picture book." Instead, it is an early effort to explain the artist in the context of his world, not ours. Unusual photographs by Terry Schutte are the only extant images of Cornell "creating" his work. Images by Duane Michals are collaborative with Cornell which further serve to show the latter's varied interests and inspirations: toys in his make believe back yard, contemplation of objects incorporated into his constructed boxes, naked female photographs from a Michal's series likewise transformed into a collage. Add to this the complete text of two self-published pamphlets Cornell wrote on ballet, poems by Octavio Paz and Elizabeth Bishop motivated constructed objects, and other material Cornell used to inspire his work creates in this very early volume on the artist a book that is as unique in its perspective as the artist was in his era.
This is a reprint of what is an important, early contribution to the literature on the now much discussed American artist, Joseph Cornell.
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