About this artwork
The title of this collage originally derives from a two-line poem by Walt Whitman: “The untold want by life and land ne’er granted,/ Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find” (“The Untold Want” [I87l), in Walt Whitman, Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, New York, 1982, p. 608). Now Voyager was also the name of a 1941 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty and of a 1942 movie, based on the novel, starring Bette Davis. The title’s attraction for Cornell, given the voyage theme in so many of his works, is obvious. Here, though, the combination of title and image suggests a journey of a more interior kind, which is indeed evoked by Whitman‘s poem, and is a theme developed in both the novel and movie: these focus on the growth of the main protagonist, Charlotte Vale, from repressive childhood into mature adulthood. In Cornell‘s collage a child of uncertain gender is shown riding a merry-go-round horse, but the child’s distant gaze and the planets above hint at an imagined voyage of much grander dimensions.
— Entry, Dawn Ades, Surrealist Art: The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1997, p. 91.
- Joseph Cornell
- Now, Voyager
- United States
- Collage composed of cut and pasted, commercially printed papers, with brush and black ink and touches of yellow gouache on untempered masonite
- 289 × 213 mm
- Lindy and Edwin Bergman Joseph Cornell Collection
- © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York