First Joseph Cornell acquisition by a Dutch museum

Joseph Cornell, For Chiarina, collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Joseph Cornell, For Chiarina, collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

First Joseph Cornell acquisition by a Dutch museum

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has acquired a work by the American self-taught artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972). ‘For Chiarina’ is the first work by Cornell to be acquired by a Dutch museum.

The work is one of the ‘Space Object Boxes’ that Joseph Cornell made in the late 1950s. These works are characterised by an intense sensitivity paired with outward soberness. The title ‘For Chiarina’ refers to the reverse of the object, which shows a portrait of Clara Wieck, one of the most distinguished pianists of the her age, a composer and wife of Robert Schumann. Cornell often made boxes dedicated to women with whom he felt an affinity.

Link between Surrealism and Pop Art
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has acquired ‘For Chiarina’ in relation to its collections of Surrealism and Pop Art. Joseph Cornell was a great admirer of the Surrealists and exhibited with them. He was also an example to Pop artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg. Cornell was an artist of exceptional importance both as an ‘outsider’ – which is how he operated – and in terms of his great significance for important twentieth century art movements.

This acquisition represents the first work by Joseph Cornell in a Dutch public collection and greatly enriches the nation’s art collection. The work will be displayed in the museum’s new displays ‘The Collection Two’, which opens on 17 January 2009.

The acquisition has been made possible with the financial support of the Mondriaan Foundation and the BankGiro Loterij.

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