UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum


Frederick Sommer
American, born Italy, 1905-1999
Valise d'Adam, 1949
Vintage gelatin silver print, 9 9/16 x 7 5/8 inches
Museum Purchase with Curriculum Support Funds,

Like a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci, Frederick Sommer's artistic and intellectual interests displayed remarkable depth and breadth: music, literature, philosophy, and landscape architecture in addition to drawing, collage and photography. Sommer's aesthetic work was a process of contemplating and synthesizing the interrelationship of diverse elements and ideas. "I believe the sign is displayed in fragments already on the scene, but the picture has to be put together." Valise d'Adam, which loosely translates as Adam's carrying case, exemplifies his use of found objects meticulously arranged to create new, often enigmatic meanings. Here, the doll about to be born from the larger figure suggests that man travels through woman literally and figuratively.