The Art of Frederick Sommer - Davis, Keith F.; Torosian, Michael; Watson, April M. - Yale University Press
  • May 10, 2005
    252 p., 11 1/4 x 12 3/4
    133 tritones + 28 duotones + 52 color illus.
    ISBN: 9780300107838
    Cloth: $65.00 tx

Art and Architecture

Distributed for the Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation  

The Art of Frederick Sommer

Photography, Drawing, Collage

  • Essay by Keith F. Davis; Interview by Michael Torosian; Chronology by April M. Watson
      REVIEWS             PREVIEW             CONTENTS             EXCERPTS      


Winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Fine Arts category.

Winner of Honorable Mention for the 2005 George Wittenborn Memorial Award sponsored by the Art Libraries Society of North America.


Winner of 2005 Golden Light Award, Book of the Year

Selected by Camera Arts as one of the 10 Commendable Photograph Books of the Year

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.

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.


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (May 14 – July 31, 2005)

Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, Indiana (September 11 - November 27, 2005)

The J. Paul Getty Museum (May 10 – September 4, 2005)