Jazz Band

Jazz Band


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 (also in this
exhibition), 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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