Cygne Crépusculaire (Twilight Swan)

A work made of backing board with attached stained wood frame and glass front, velvet (on sides), reproduced engraving, graphite, imitation gemstone, and mirror.
Art © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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  • A work made of backing board with attached stained wood frame and glass front, velvet (on sides), reproduced engraving, graphite, imitation gemstone, and mirror.

Date:

1949

Artist:

Joseph Cornell
American, 1903-1972

About this artwork

This box is closely related to the earlier, untitled box known as For Tamara Toumanova and is specifically a tribute to the prima ballerina‘s performance in an outdoor product ion of Swan Lake, which Cornell attended. Its spare elegance, the contrast of the simple “rustic” frame with the picturesque intricacy of the wooded landscape, and the various light effect s created by the blue glass and the mirror seem to recreate the experience of open-air ballet. The swan itself fills the foreground and appears at home in its natural setting, but is simultaneously distanced from it by the blue moonlight, its identity with the ballerina indicated only by a brilliant, clear gemstone (a second one is now lost). Cornell has here restricted his incorporation of the delicate and decorative materials associated with the ballerina‘s presence, which elsewhere include feathers and sequins, to this artificial diamond, a conceit in keeping with the paradoxical nature of the event.

— Entry, Dawn Ades, Surrealist Art: The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1997, p.57.

On View

Modern Art, Gallery 397

Artist

Joseph Cornell

Title

Cygne Crépusculaire (Twilight Swan)

Origin

United States

Date

1949

Medium

Backing board with attached stained wood frame and glass front, velvet (on sides), reproduced engraving, graphite, imitation gemstone, and mirror

Inscriptions

Titled, dated, and signed on back, on paper label: Cygne Crepusculaire 1949 (typed) / Joseph Cornell (in artist’s hand) / Joseph Cornell (typed)

Dimensions

14 1/2 × 15 × 3 in. Inner dimensions: 8 3/4 × 11 × 2 1/2 in.

Credit Line

Lindy and Edwin Bergman Joseph Cornell Collection in memory of John Benton

Reference Number

1982.1865

Copyright

Art © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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