[Queens, NY]: Salamander Editions [Joseph Cornell], (1954). First Edition. Wraps. Small 8vo. Original printed stapled wraps. Original blue tissue still present. Small collaged element to last page (postcard detail of skyline of lower Manhattan). Mild rubbing, toning. "From Joseph Cornell" neatly penned in green ink to front cover in an unknown contemporary hand. Very good. Very good. Item #13624
MARIA (1954) was privately printed by Cornell in an edition of about 100 copies and given away to his friends as presents. The work was inspired by nineteenth-century opera singer Maria Malibran-Garcia and was produced with the same precision and care Cornell brought to his other work. It is in many ways a Cornell work in book form, not only due to the collaged element present, but also in the appropriation of text, the use of a decorative headpiece from yet another book, and dealing with one of Cornell's signature obsessions. Rare when originally issued and altered by Cornell. A box of leftover copies of MARIA was discovered with Cornell's estate and are seen on the market with some regularity. These are identifiable, however, by a lack of any collage element in the rear of the book, no blue tissue, and their generally fine condition (having been stored in a box for years). Nonetheless, a genuinely scarce book, especially copies augmented and circulated by Cornell himself. OCLC locates one holding (Utah, though another lies among the Donald Windham and Sandy Campbell Papers at Yale) and we find only one additional among museum collections (the Smithsonian). A curious entry in a curious career and an early and under-appreciated artist's book.