Sunday, July 25, 2021

the last book I ever read (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell, excerpt fourteen)

from Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:

Astoundingly, in the fall of 1970, Cornell actually signed up for a life drawing class. He enrolled with Mary Frank, an attractive, London-born sculptor who was thirty years his junior and was married to the photographer Robert Frank. She considered Cornell an artist of the first rank and was bewildered by the notion of having him audit her course, not least because he seemed so profoundly troubled. “I couldn’t imagine him in a class of eighteen-year-olds who didn’t know his work,” she said years later. “I couldn’t imagine what I’d do so that he could be comfortable. He looked like he had died a long time ago. He was all gray and unshaven and in a deep, deep depression.”

Cornell attended her class five or six times, and apparently made an effort at drawing. He would sit on a stool at the side of the classroom with a sketchbook in hand – “the kind you buy in Woolworth’s,” Frank said, “Smaller and cheaper than everyone else’s.” As students passed the session sketching from a male or female model, Cornell appeared to do the same. However, when Frank glanced at his page one day, there was nothing inscribed on it beyond “a curving line that crossed over itself.” Cornell insisted that she keep the drawing as a gift. He liked her enormously and was amazed to learn that her father was Edward Lockspeiser, who had written an important book on Debussy in 1963. Naturally Cornell had read it. He told her that he knew it “by heart.”

No comments:

Post a Comment