Author(s): Mary Clare McKinley
Joseph Cornell first viewed Cubist painter Juan Gris's The Man at the Cafe in October 1953. This visual encounter prompted Cornell to create more than a dozen hand-constructed shadow boxes as homages to Gris, each featuring a variation on a motif that echoes formal elements in Gris's painting. This unique book explores Cornell's deep fascination with Gris, uncovering compositional similarities that indicate numerous cross-currents, including allusions in Cornell's work to Gris's crucial influence and the artists' shared interests in French culture and the ballet. Cornell/Gris yields a new perspective on Cornell's famed boxes while also shedding light on Gris's painting, establishing points of connection between two key figures of the avant-garde who lived a generation apart.