Frederick Sommer / The Eatable Thief / 1950Frederick Sommer
The Eatable Thief

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Creator Name: Sommer, Frederick
Creator Nationality: North American; American
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1905
Biography: Frederick Sommer American, b. Italy, 1905-"Aesthetics celebrates art as the poetic logic of form," Frederick Sommer has written. This complex ideology runs throughout his work, linking his early black-and-white straight images and his later anatomical collages to a cosmic philosophy informed by myth, art, literature, science, music, and life experience. Sommer's photographs, printed with painstaking attention to focus, contrast, and size, range in subject from straight portraiture to nudes, landscapes, found objects, statues, animal carcasses, peeling walls, and cut-paper sculptures. A friend of surrealist artist Max Ernst, Sommer also explores psychic territory in his art, relying on an emblematic depiction of reality to open the doors of the imagination. Mortal corruptibility, death, and beauty are his universal themes. Born in Angri, Italy, Sommer grew up in Rio de Janeiro. He earned an M.A. in landscape architecture from Cornell University (1926-27) and married Frances Watson one year later. They returned to Rio, but moved to Switzerland after Sommer was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After his recuperation, they immigrated to the United States in 1931, and Sommer became a naturalized citizen in 1939. Although he painted and occasionally photographed between 1931-35, Sommer's serious efforts at photography began after meeting Alfred Stieglitz in 1935. His first images of the Arizona landscape were made in 1936 with an 8 x 10-inch view camera. Sommer has lectured extensively on photography and his philosophies, particularly at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (1957-58). He also worked as the fine arts coordinator at Prescott College (1966-71). Since 1961 Sommer has concentrated on abstract images and cut-paper collages derived from fragments extracted from medical engravings and anatomical texts. He lives in Prescott, Arizona. A.W.
Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Angri, Italy
Creator Name-CRT: Frederick Sommer
Title: The Eatable Thief
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1950
Creation End Date: 1950
Creation Date: 1950
Object Type: Photographs
Classification Term: Photography
Materials and Techniques: gelatin silver print
Dimensions: Image: 13.7cm x 9.1cm
Inscriptions: Written in pencil on verso of mount: "The Eatable Thief / Frederick Sommer [signed] 1950"
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1993.11
Credit Line: Dudley P. Allen Fund
Context: This enigmatic photograph exemplifies the provocative, symbolic work of Frederick Sommer, an inventive contemporary photographer. Its focus is a small, gauze-wrapped doll lying in the center of a decaying box. The objects depicted, culled from Sommer'scollection of found objects, are not extraordinary, but in this context they have been invested with new meanings. An atmosphere of disintegration and death (Sommer's favorite themes) pervades the image.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1993.11
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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