Theatrical Study

Theatrical Study

Date unknown

Part of a set. See all set records

William Sommer

(American, 1867-1949)

Watercolor and gouache with graphite

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 1954.153.54



These watercolor sketches may have been inspired
by early performances at the Cleveland Play
House. Rather than a conventional theater, the
Play House was founded in 1915 as a workshop
for experimental art, music, poetry, and dance.
Embracing the slogan “democracy in art,” the
organization did not use professional actors in its
avant-garde performances. Sommer was a guiding
force in the organization, designing sets and
costumes and participating in the performances.
A reviewer described his costumes for one
performance as “symbolic rather than historical”
and his curved sets as a “cyclorama” illuminated
by “ultra-modern lighting.”

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