Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Bowdoin College Museum of Art Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Advanced Search
Image of Max Ernst, 1946 11514

1997.4

Artist

Frederick Sommer

Title

Max Ernst, 1946

Creation Date

1946

Century

20th century

Dimensions

7 1/2 in. x 9 1/2 in. (19 cm. x 24.2 cm.)

Object Type

photograph

Creation Place

North America, American

Medium and Support

gelatin silver print

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Gridley W. Tarbell II Fund

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

1997.4
In Frederick Sommer’s portrait of the surrealist painter Max Ernst, the subject both emerges from and is fused with the textured background, in ways that recall some of Ernst’s own techniques, such as collage and frottage (a rubbing over a textured surface). Sommer achieved this effect through the simultaneous printing of two different negatives: one, a portrait of Ernst in front of a weathered wood cabin; the other, a picture of a stained and corroded concrete wall. Sommer had been dissatisfied with each image individually and had forgotten them. When he by chance picked up the two negatives together, this iconic portrait emerged. Born in Italy and raised in Brazil, Sommer settled in Arizona in 1935 to soothe his tuberculosis. He and his wife became close with Ernst when he and fellow surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning moved there in 1946.

Keywords: portraits  

Recommend keywords

Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.