The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Exhibition Surveys the Distinguished and Wide-Ranging Career of Surrealist Photographer Frederick Sommer
Frederick Sommer (American, 1905 - 1999), Arizona Landscape, 1943. Gelatin silver print, Image and sheet: 7 9/16 x 9 9/16 inches. Collection of D.W. Mellor

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Frederick Sommer (1905-1999) crafted a vision inflected by Surrealist ideas, elements of surprise and chance, and an acute sense of design. He experimented with many forms of art while making photography his primary endeavor. The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Frederick Sommer Photographs, a survey of his art over five decades, with some 40 photographs shown along with drawings and collages, including all of his central motifs and many of his best-known works. Among the images on view are several of his desert landscapes from the 1940s, horizon-less images that only gradually resolve their components into landscapes, and bewildering subjects such as “Max Ernst” (1946), an exhibition highlight, in which Sommer superimposed an image of an aged concrete wall onto a portrait of his friend, the pioneering Dada and Surrealist artist, to create the illusion of a man morphing into rock. Other highlights include a rare suite of macabre and humorous yet poignant photographs the artist made in 1939 using chicken parts collected from his butcher, and which reflect the artist's determination to find mystery and grace in the most debased aspects of physical existence. There are also numerous examples of Sommer's later experiments photographing other artworks, including his own elegant paper cutouts of the 1960s and '70s.

Frederick Sommer Photographs is the first exhibition of Sommer’s work in Philadelphia since 1968 and is drawn from loans from distinguished private collections. Organized by Peter Barberie, Curator of Photographs, along with Julia Dolan, The Horace W. Goldsmith Curatorial Fellow in Photography, it will be on view in the Alfred Stieglitz Center Gallery.

"It is wonderful to be able to show this remarkable group of works,” Barberie said. “His photography represents a high point in American modernism and resonates powerfully with the many masterpieces of Surrealist painting, sculpture, and photography in our collection, as well as with our holdings of photographs by Edward Weston and other artists who were important to Sommer."

Born in Italy to Swiss and German parents, Sommer was raised in Brazil and studied landscape architecture at Cornell University from 1925-27. He settled with his wife Frances in Prescott, Arizona, and abandoned landscape design in the early 1930s, as he began to experiment with drawing, painting, and collage, as well as writing poetry and prose. Though he continued to incorporate other art forms into his pictures, by 1938 he had dedicated himself to photography as his primary creative medium, attracted to its capacity for providing abundant visual information. He was further inspired by encounters with the photographers Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston.

His early imagery of animal remains and desert landscapes in Arizona caught the attention of Surrealist artists and writers such as Max Ernst and André Breton. For his part Sommer was attracted to the Surrealists’ use of surprising subject matter and odd juxtapositions, as well as their emphasis on chance as a vital element of the creative process. Sommer’s oeuvre included a great variety of subjects, as well as frequent art historical references. He had a keen interest in the interconnectedness of things natural and manmade, as reflected in his work. As he wrote in 1970: “Images have sources and antecedents. To turn away from them is to have no image to breathe life into.”

The Philadelphia Museum of Art | Frederick Sommer | Peter Barberie | Julia Dolan | Surrealism |

Today's News

October 3, 2009

Wide Array of Exquisite Works at Sotheby's Sale Next Week in Hong Kong

Abu Dhabi to Host First Exhibition in the Middle East from the Guggenheim

The Frick Collection Completes Series of Reinstallations

Important 19th Century European Art to be Sold at Sotheby's

Tate Liverpool Shows Jean Tinguely's Rarely Examined Early Career

Gregory Dale Smith Appointed Conservation Scientist at Indianapolis Museum

Crystal Bridges Museum Announces it Will Share Paintings

Renowned Collections Lead Silver and Objects of Vertu Sale at Christie's

Norton Museum Celebrates New York City with Exhibition

Taiwan's National Palace Museum to Open Joint Exhibition with China

Seoul Auction to Offer Works by Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor Among Others

The Darker Side of Light Reveals the Arts of Privacy at the National Gallery of Art

Guggenheim Free Day Marks 50th Anniversary on October 21

Walker Art Center to Show Major Dan Graham Retrospective

"Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: The Art of the Superhero" Exhibition

Exhibition Surveys the Distinguished and Wide-Ranging Career of Surrealist Photographer Frederick Sommer

Important Afro-Caribbean Photographic Archive Acquired for Museum of London with Art Fund Help

Smithsonian American Art Museum Presents Retrospective of William T. Wiley

High Museum Launches New Web Content for Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition

Vancouver Art Gallery Announces Exhibition Program to Welcome the World During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Archives of American Art Receives Major Grant to Digitize Jacques Seligmann and Co. Gallery Records

Anne Frank Museum Launches YouTube Channel

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Underground in Jerusalem, a rare look at an ancient tomb

2.- Research reveals new species are evolving fastest in Antarctica

3.- Tate Modern opens the UK's first major Pierre Bonnard exhibition in 20 years

4.- Travel ban for 'fragile' Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'

5.- Holocaust museum stokes controversy among Hungary's Jews

6.- Rare Hassam, Jefferson letter and Sèvres porcelain offered at Potomack Auction

7.- 'Discriminating Thieves: Nazi-Looted Art and Restitution' opens at Nelson-Atkins

8.- Andy Goldsworthy to create Walking Wall on Nelson-Atkins campus

9.- US university to cover Christopher Columbus murals

10.- Leonardo da Vinci's drawings go under the microscope in a new publication

Related Stories

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Acquisition of 3,000 Works by Paul Strand

Philadelphia Museum of Art Presents Major Survey Devoted to Italian Artist Michelangelo Pistoletto

Museum Selects Stephen Starr to Serve as Executive Caterer and to Create New Museum Cafes and Restaurant

Constance H. Williams Announced as New Chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Picasso and the Avant-Garde in Paris Extended at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Kelly M. O'Brien Named Executive Director of Development at Philadelphia Museum

Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Exhibition that Surveys Renoir's Final Decades

Exhibition Highlights the Exceptional Beauty of Platinum Photography

Exhibition Surveys the Impact of Picasso and His Circle in Paris

Exhibition Surveys the Impact of Picasso and His Circle in Paris

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful