William Sommer (1867 - 1949)
watercolor on paper, 1936
William Sommer, a native of Detroit, Michigan, spent his career in Ohio. He learned commercial lithography by apprenticing for seven years. While working in Cleveland, he and friend William Zorach started an art group of people who wanted to explore new avante-garde art movements. By the 1930s, commercial lithography was becoming obsolete and the Depression hit. Sommer, then in his sixties, joined the Ohio WPA and painted murals in rural towns.
This painting is a good example of the transparency of watercolor paints and the use of bare paper for white areas of the composition. The colors are kept clean and clear by swift application. Sommer and his group of artists wanted to achieve expression of emotion and spontaneity.
Collection of the Illinois State Museum
photograph by Gary Andrashko
ISM Accession #: 1943.16/912.8
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