American photographer, painter and theorist of Italian birth. After studying
landscape architecture with his father Carlos Sommer in Brazil (1916–25) and
at Cornell University (MA 1927), he worked as a landscape architect in
Brazil until 1930. While in Switzerland convalescing after tuberculosis in
1930, he became interested in modern art and acquired his first camera. He
moved to Tucson, AZ, in 1931 and settled in Prescott, AZ, in 1935. He held
his first exhibition, of watercolours, in Chicago in 1934 and discovered the
graphic aspect of musical scores. His interest in photography was increased
after seeing prints by Edward Weston in 1936. He bought a large-format
camera in 1938 and held his first one-man show as a photographer in 1946
(Santa Barbara, CA, Mus. A.). His links with European art were strengthened
by his friendship with Max Ernst, whom he met in 1941.
1946 Max Ernst
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