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Untitled (Laurel?)

Date: March 10, 1969
Dimensions:
12 1/16 x 9 1/16 in. (30.6 x 23 cm.)
Medium: on the rough side of a fiberboard panel: photoprint of backyard Quince tree with some light brown and orange staining, paper border stained dark brown, brown and orange, black ink and yellow pencil lines; verso covered with olive colored paper
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
Copyright: © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / VAGA, New York
Inscription: Signed in lower right of verso on a French text strip in black ink: Joseph Cornell Inscribed in lower right of verso on signature strip in black type: cornell. Inscribed in upper left of verso in white graphite: 3-10-69 impromptu coup de grace gorso cellar / AM Inscribed in upper right of verso in white graphite: Laurel? Inscribed in upper left of verso in white graphite: from a reject into a m'piece--in my own eyes at least our backyard / this picture that made itself Inscribed in lower right of verso in white graphite: m's quince-tree. Jays this mon-- sparrow in tree / squable / [illegible] of rustic effects the image jay on / toppeled bird bath pattern of snow left / (broken) Inscribed in lower left of verso in white graphite: laying ard on the celler floor --disrray--cue frozen white caked / in the small Ars. SiRiUS alone looking down on the tree--i.e. 330 Am or so cold ha-se (couch)*
Object Number: 2005.19.3
Label Text:Cornell recorded his struggles to create this collage, which features the quince tree that stood in the backyard of the Cornell family home at 3708 Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens, on the back of the work. He initially thought it to be a "reject," but was inspired to finish it in the in the early morning hours of March 10, 1969.

Cornell's diaries are filled with minute observations of the world immediately around him. He often wrote of the activity of birds and squirrels that visited his backyard quince tree and of the tree's changing appearance during different seasons of the year. On the day he completed this collage, he noted that jays and a sparrow had squabbled in its snow-covered branches.