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Cornell (Joseph) Letters to Susanna De Maria Wilson and other papers
2014.M.30  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Collection of thirty-three unpublished letters from Joseph Cornell to Susanna De Maria Wilson, one of his assistants and wife of the minimalist sculptor Walter De Maria. The letters feature poetic and philosophical musings on various topics as well as practical information about the artist's work and document aspects of Cornell's relationship with De Maria Wilson. Besides the textual content, the aestethic composition of the letters, comprising multiple envelopes frequently contained within each other, collaged elements and the inclusion of objects, produces a layered reading and viewing experience. The letters are as much a collection of collage work and mail art as they are archival documents.
Background
The American artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was a pioneer and celebrated pratcitioner of collage and assemblage art, and experimental filmmaker. He was born in Nyack, N.Y. in 1903, the eldest of four children. Following his father's death in 1917 he moved with his family to Queens, New York, and then attended the Phillips Academy in Andover in Massachusetts, but without earning a diploma. Except for the years spent in Andover, Cornell lived most of his life in a small house on Utopia Parkway in a working-class neighborhood of Flushing, Queens, along with his mother and his younger brother Robert, who suffered from cerebral palsy. For many years he struggled to make a living and supported his family by working various jobs: salesman in the textile industry; door-to-door appliance salesman; working at a plant nursery; as a textile designer; and as a designer of covers and layouts for Harper's Bazaar, View, Dance Index, and other magazines.
Extent
2.17 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Restrictions
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Availability
Restricted. Contact the repository for information regarding access.