Portrait of Emily Bronte

Joseph Cornell (American, 1903–1972)
ca. 1962
MediumPaper and canvas board collage
Dimensions12 × 9 inches
CreditGift of C & B Foundation, 1975
© The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
Accession Number75.22.3

Joseph Cornell incorporated a deep interest in astronomy and poetry in his art. In two and three-dimensional works, he included images of the moon as collage elements, and in the early 1960s, he produced several collages in which women appeared outdoors. In this work, a woman in Victorian dress looks up at a sunset-streaked sky and rising moon, as she trails oversized bouquets of flowers on darkened ground. The moon appears frequently in Bronte’s verses, and Cornell might have had in mind the last lines from her 1840 poem, “Moonlight, Summer Moonlight”—

“And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.”

Exhibition History