Frederick Sommer (American, born Italy, 1905–1999)
Gelatin silver print
33.7 x 26.4 cm. (13 1/4 x 10 3/8 in.)
Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, 1994
Not on view
Over a career that spanned seven decades, Sommer created an influential and deeply idiosyncratic body of work in a variety of mediums: primarily photographs but also drawings, paintings, collages, architectural and landscape designs, and musical scores. In the mid-1950s he began making cameraless images using painted pieces of cellophane as negatives. Working quickly to preserve a sense of spontaneity, he applied viscous oil paint to between ten and twenty sheets of cellophane at a time. Because of the reversal of tones, the painted areas appear white in the resulting contact prints, creating the illusion that the gestural marks were made by wiping away the surrounding black ground.
Inscription: Signed on print, verso C: "Frederick Sommer 1957"
Muriel Kallis Newman
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Surface Tension," September 15, 2009–March 15, 2010.
Painted cellophane used as negative in the enlarger.