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Untitled

Date: n.d.
Dimensions:
9 x 12 in. (22.9 x 30.5 cm.)
Medium: fiberboard panel with a photo attached
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
Object Number: 2005.19.11
Label Text:This work is closely related to a 1966 collage entitled The Uncertainty Principle (The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.). Both feature mirrored images of Henriette Sontag, a 19th-century German opera singer who sang the first performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Cornell idolized female opera singers, ballerinas, and movie stars, and images of them appear regularly in his work.

His choice of Sontag, as well as the doubling of her image, refers to Cornell's acquaintance with author and intellectual Susan Sontag. Playing on the shared surname, Cornell linked his flesh-and-blood friend Susan to Henriette, who died in 1848 and existed only in memory, texts, and images. References to the present and the past, reality and fantasy recur often in Cornell's boxes and collages.