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Mountain Passes of ......" (Mountain Passes of Heaven)

Date: 1965
9 x 12 in. (22.9 x 30.5 cm.)
Medium: on rough side of fiberboard panel: paper painted several shades of blue and crackled, wooden strips along left and right edges; verso covered with manilla paper stained blue
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 in black ink on a green graphite line: Joseph Cornell Inscribed in upper right of verso in graphite: Mt passes of Heaven Inscribed in upper center of verso in black ink on green graphite line: 'Mountain Passess of ____." Inscribed in lower left of in black ink on green graphite signature line: as of --65
Object Number: 2005.19.8
Label Text:The style of this collage represents a major departure in Cornell's work because it does not rely on juxtapositions of images or text to create meaning. Instead, he incised lines into heavily pigmented paper. By extending color all the way to the edges of the paper Cornell created an essentially abstract work.

In his diary, Cornell referred to a collage entitled Mountain Passes of Heaven just after Robert died in 1965. On the scrap of paper where the title first appeared, Cornell noted: "Chinese landscape," suggesting that Asian art inspired him. The work may also have a Chinese subject; the Shanhai Pass in the mountains of eastern China is known as the "first pass under heaven."