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Joseph Cornell’s Manual of Marvels

How Joseph Cornell reinvented a French Agricultural Manual to create an American Masterpiece

Analisa Leppanen-Guerra, Dickran Tashjian

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A fabulous facsimile of a little-known Cornell masterpiece – an entrancing tour de force


The extraordinary, little-known masterpiece by the great American artist Joseph Cornell - an entrancing tour de force

Produced in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this unique 'Cornell box' contains:

• a facsimile volume, with cutouts, collages and tip-ins

• the story behind the work in an illustrated volume of essays

• an interactive CD of the complete original book

Joseph Cornell loved to meander through Manhattan’s secondhand bookstalls and antiquarian shops in search of books, old documents, and faded photographs. One day, he came upon a French agricultural manual, the Journal d’Agriculture Pratique, from 1911.

He took it home and began to work on the book, making cutouts through which one could view collaged elements, inserting images from old photographs, and tipping-in classic paintings and transparent overlays. In the process, Cornell reinvented the French manual as an American masterpiece.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC (no jacket) in a box

Size: 25.5 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 160 pp

Publication date: 22 October 2012

ISBN: 9780500516492

About the Author

Analisa Leppanen-Guerra is Visiting Assistant Professor, Art and Art History, DePaul University, Chicago.

Dickran Tashjian is Professor Emeritus, Art History, at the University of California

List of Contributors

Dawn Ades, Innis Howe Shoemaker

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