May 27, 2009
Feb 10, 2004

Jazz Band (125 of 150)

Jazz Band (125 of 150)


Part of a set. See all set records

William Sommer

(American, 1867–1949)

Watercolor, gouache, and graphite

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 1954.153.125



One of Cleveland’s most innovative and prolific artists, Sommer came to Cleveland in 1907 to work in the commercial lithography industry. However, he hated the work and devoted almost all of his free time to producing experimental art. His modernist paintings strongly influenced other Cleveland artists, including the young Charles Burchfield, who in 1915 made a special trip to visit Sommer at his home in the Cuyahoga Valley. Often living on the brink of bankruptcy, Sommer worked incessantly using any materials at hand. He painted this watercolor, whose dynamic forms capture the spirit of the Jazz Age, on the back of an invitation to an exhibition opening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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