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Take a trip around the world with ‘Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust’

Jul 29, 2015

by Sarah Sandiford handmade and vintage goods

There’s a wise ol’ saying that travel makes you richer in ways you couldn’t imagine. With this in mind, we hot-footed it on down to the latest exhibition opening at the RA, Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust.

Royal Academy 1
Taking up residence at the Royal Academy, Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust uncovers one man’s dream to travel the world and discover cultures far and wild, without venturing beyond his native country. With an extensive knowledge of the wider world, American artist Joseph Cornell may have been a rather ordinary textile salesman by trade when he first began making his eclectic creations, but his passion for collecting everyday objects and transforming them into something poignant and poetic was rather extraordinary.

Joseph Cornell

(c) The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/VAGA, NY/DACS, London 2015

Inviting you to be transported on Cornell’s imaginary voyages around the world, the exhibition showcases 80 of his most treasured masterpieces, most notably his signature glass fronted wooden boxes known as ‘shadow boxes’. Housing carefully assembled keepsakes, the miniature works of art are a window into the yearning mind of Cornell.

Entirely self-taught, Cornell’s collecting of humble found objects from Manhattan’s second hand bookshops and dime stores were central to his creativity.

(c) The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/VAGA, NY/DACS, London 2015

(c) The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/VAGA, NY/DACS, London 2015

Transporting us to faraway destinations, Cornell stirs all the emotions and excitement of wanderlust and presents them in an art form that is just as inspiring as it was when he first began making them on his kitchen table.

Make sure to stay tuned for an exciting project we have up our sleeves with the Royal Academy, we’ve got quite the adventure planned…

Feeling inspired? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @EtsyUK to let us know if you will be visiting the exhibition.

Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust is on at the Royal Academy of Arts until the 27th September 2015. For more information and tickets, click here.

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  • Cabinet49

    Cabinet49 from Cabinet49 said 5 years ago

    I'm going to see this on Friday :-) Exited!

  • CjAliveindia

    Sam Jain from SamrudhiHandicrafts said 5 years ago


  • annecorr1

    anne corr from modestly said 5 years ago

    An Amazing exhibition. Here's my tribute to this wonderful artist that I have had available in my shop for the last year or so, and is one of my most popular sellers! Just done one actually.

  • crystalsmitharts

    Crystal from AWildLife said 5 years ago

    Beautiful! Who doesn't like to travel?

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from FireHorseVintageHQ said 5 years ago

    Wonderful pieces. His work looks strangely contemporary.

  • sjtarn
  • ruthmabli

    Ruth Petersen from MabliJack said 5 years ago

    How fantastic. My lovely husband gave me an old empty wall display case for my birthday which I am spending many hours contemplating how to fill.

  • QueenofCuffs

    mary from QueenofCuffs said 5 years ago

    What he chooses to place within his inner worlds or travel is what interests me - he has documented a very personal depiction that feels both clinical and magical at the same time. Amazing !!

  • WinonasColors

    Winona Taylor from WinonasColors said 5 years ago

    Is exhibit coming to US?

  • LaviniasTeaParty

    Lavinia from LaviniasTeaParty said 5 years ago

    Oh my, I hope I can get to London to see that in time, how inspiring :D

  • rebeccacolecoker

    Rebecca from ArtAndTradition said 5 years ago

    I loved wandering through the minutiae of this inspiring show, Cornell fuels us collectors of ephemera to go on searching, and collating our finds in ever more creative ways. It was a perfect follow - up to the Alexander McQueen Exhibition at the V&A where the 'cabinet of curiosities' room was the 21st century version of Cornell's ethos, a journey around the world in fashion design!

  • teresawinchester1

    Teresa Winchester from TWinchesterCards said 4 years ago

    A wonderfully atmospheric and personal show. It's justified keeping all the little bits and pieces over the years which are now in boxes in the basement! Perhaps something will happen with them!

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