Frederick Sommer - The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 1 New York Monday, April 3, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Christian Zervos Estate/Librairie Cahiers d'Art
    Galerie 1900-2000, Paris
    Private Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, 26 April 2007, lot 87

  • Literature

    Davis, The Art of Frederick Sommer: Photography, Drawing, Collage, p. 85

  • Catalogue Essay

    Frederick Sommer’s desert photographs comprise some of the most sophisticated work in his oeuvre. These studies defy many of the conventions of the landscape genre, in painting as well as photography. While his contemporaries Ansel Adams and Edward Weston had each created signature bodies of work that redefined landscape photography for their time, Sommer approached the subject in a radically different way. Dispensing with the horizon line and filling the entire frame with topography, Sommer created works that are simultaneously factual and disorienting.

    Like Adams and Weston, Sommer worked with a large-format camera which allowed him to record the same level of detail as his colleagues. Sommer used the capability of the equipment, however, to very different ends. His photographs are less about their content than they are about the act of photographing, and result in a constructed reality.

    This photograph comes originally from the collection of Christian Zervos, art critic, gallery owner, and editor of the French Surrealist journal, Cahiers d’Art. In 1950, Zervos had been introduced to Sommer’s work by Max Ernst, a friend and fellow Surrealist, who presented Zervos with a selection of Sommer’s drawings and photographs. Several of these were subsequently published by Zervos in Cahiers d’Art.


Colorado River Landscape

Gelatin silver print, printed no later than 1949.
7 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (18.1 x 24.1 cm)
Numbered '542' in pencil on the mount.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $40,000

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The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 1

New York 3 April 2017