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The Art of Frederick Sommer : Photography, Drawing, Collage 
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Product Details 
252 pages 
Yale University Press 
Published 2005 
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. The art of Frederick Sommer isn't about beauty, technique or influence; it is, Davis writes in his curatorial essay, about "understanding... everything." This new survey of the former landscape architect's drawings, collage and photography goes a long way toward illustrating Davis's claim. Sommer emerges here as an insatiable synthesizer who saved, for example, a piece of molten metal he discovered in the 1940s until he could collage it with the ideal background in 1966. The photograph produced from this collage, Davis explains, uncannily evokes the composition of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. To help readers understand the impulses driving Sommer, Davis's essay lingers on the surrealist technique of "skipreading" whereby one "reinterprets important texts by rapidly scanning the page to form a new, poetic narrative from intuitively chosen words and phrases." Sommer used this technique to produce wonderfully aphoristic texts, some of which are interspersed, to great effect, throughout this catalog of images. Davis sets out to demonstrate that the whole of Sommer's work and, by extension, his life was a grand act of skipreading. It's an exciting, if not heroic, take on Sommer's process, suggesting that the nearly two decades that elapsed between finding the molten metal and its complimentary background, for example, collectively formed the "important text" from which Sommer would intuitively choose detritus to recombine into startling images. The book's sequencing of images wholly succeeds in creating a powerful contemplative experience, and the enticing arguments Davis offers in his introductory remarks incite a hunger for fresh, detailed scholarship about each of Sommer's works. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From Booklist Frederick Sommer (1905-99), a once-celebrated yet also underrated and misunderstood artist, is overdue for a revival, and this illuminating and sumptuous book will be the catalyst. Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Sommer initially worked with his landscape-designer father, but after he earned his M.A. at Cornell University, he moved to Arizona and pursued many creative channels, including photography, drawing, collage, and painting, all handsomely presented here. Art historian Davis incisively interprets Sommer's innovative and complex art, charting the evolution of his imagination and gift for experimentation, as well as his friendships with Edward Weston, Charles Sheeler, Max Ernst, and Aaron Siskind. Inspired by landscapes, the human figure, and music, Sommer was also profoundly intrigued with the laws of nature, specifically death, decay, and regeneration, which he explored in arresting photographs of animal carcasses merging with the desert and other unusual biological subjects. Heretofore an artist's artist, Sommer deserves greater appreciation for the "mysterious, crystalline precision" of his evocative work, and his uncanny ability to discern beauty in every manifestation and phase of life. Donna Seaman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved Art Times "The Art of Frederic Sommer is a sumptuous affair.... A stunning book." Library Journal "...offers absorbing, little-known details of [Sommer's] life, literary and philosophical influences, and development as an artist...." Richard Nilsen, The Arizona Republic "Lush [and] well written... [the book] gives us the best reproductions, nearly perfect...." Book Description This stunning book—published in the artist’s centenary—chronicles the extraordinary life and work of Frederick Sommer (1905–1999). One of the great masters and key innovators in the history of art photography, Sommer was a complex and highly creative individual. His work in photography is unconventional and fascinating for its wide range of methodologies and techniques. He also explored making images with other media, creating masterful drawings, collages, and musical scores. Arriving in Arizona in 1931, Sommer abandoned his original profession, landscape architecture, and began painting and drawing. After meeting Alfred Stieglitz in 1935 and Edward Weston in 1936, Sommer embraced and quickly mastered photography. Other artists who later proved inspirational to Sommer included Precisionist painter and photographer Charles Sheeler, Surrealist artist Max Ernst, and photographer Aaron Siskind. With an essay by photo historian Keith F. Davis, exquisite reproductions of Sommer’s diverse works, and a detailed chronology of his life by April Watson, The Art of Frederick Sommer describes and documents the full extent of the artist’s achievement as a twentieth-century visionary. The book is a revelation for scholars, artists, students, and everyone who admires and appreciates creative genius. About the Author Keith F. Davis is Hallmark Fine Art Programs director and visiting research professor of art history, University of Missouri, Kansas City. Michael Torosian is proprietor of Lumiere Press, Canada. April M. Watson is research associate and adjunct professor, Department of Art and Art History, University of Missouri, Kansas City.

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The Art of Frederick Sommer : Photography, Drawing, Collage 
Frederick Sommer; Keith F. Davis (Contributor); & Michael Torosian (Contributor)
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