Carrousel—Lanner Waltzes

by Joseph Cornell (1903–1972)
Mixed media on panel
11¼ x 15 inches (sight size)
On verso: Joseph Cornell



The artist

Helen Cornell Jagger, Westhampton, New York, sister of above, gift from above, ca. 1970

Helen Jagger Batcheller, Westhampton, New York, daughter of above, by descent from above

Sale, Sotheby’s, New York, New York, November 15, 2007, lot 101

Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, New York

Private collection, New York, New York

Note: In his collage work, Cornell made use of popular magazines, photographs, and other clippings. The title of this composition derives from several sources. Beginning in the 1950s, Cornell explored the theme of carousels in both his sculptural and collage work. Carousels have often played the orchestral band music of marches and waltzes. Joseph Lanner (1801–1843) was a Viennese composer who made the folk dance music of waltzing a higher concert form of music. The cutout of the two girls, likely from The Magazine Antiques, relates to a ship’s figurehead in the collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut; such figureheads eventually influenced the creation of other figurines, like those on carousels. The image of the ship was probably taken from Life Magazine.

Artist Biography

Joseph Cornell was an innovative artist, known for his inventive collages, experimental films, and shadow box constructions containing found objects and discarded materials. As an artist, Cornell was largely self-taught. Born in Nyack, New York, he worked as a textile salesman for nearly a decade. After moving to Flushing, New York in 1929, Cornell began creating collages, using photographs, clippings from magazines, and other images from popular culture. He was an avid collector and searched through local stores, book shops, and antique fairs for objects and memorabilia. By the mid-1930s, Cornell had begun creating his signature shadow boxes. These works,

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