Valise d'Adam

Object Details

Title:

Valise d'Adam

Artist/Maker(s):

Frederick Sommer (American, born Italy, 1905 - 1999)

Culture:

American

Date:

1949

Medium:

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions:

24 x 18.9 cm (9 7/16 x 7 7/16 in.)

Copyright:

© Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation

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Against a backdrop of rusting metal, Frederick Sommer arranged a grouping of found objects. A clipboard clamp represents a head and shoulders while dirty, cracking doll's arms and legs provide more literal context, defining the object as a human body. Within that fragmented body, Sommer places a complete doll with its head pointed downward, as if ready to be born.

The photograph's French title, Valise d'Adam, or as Sommer translated it, Adam's Traveling Case, is a sly reference to the idea that man travels through woman into the world, and perhaps, woman even carries man through life.

Exhibitions
The Photographs of Frederick Sommer: A Centennial Tribute (May 10 to September 4, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 10 to September 4, 2005, (Cat.)
Bibliography

Aperture, vol. 4, no. 3

Sommer, Frederick. Venus, Jupiter & Mars: The Photographs of Frederick Sommer, edited by John Weiss, exh. cat.; cosponsored by the Department of Art, University of Delaware and the Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington, Del.: Delaware Art Museum, 1980) fig. 37.

Sommer, Frederick. Sommer: Words (v. 1)/Images (v. 2) (Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, 1984) pl. 12.

Sommer, Frederick. Frederick Sommer, the Mistress of This World Has No Name, curated by E.M. Strauss; preface by Dianne Perry Vanderlip; essay by Stephen Aldrich (Denver: Denver Art Museum, 1987) p. 45.

Sommer, Frederick. All Children are Ambassadors [Alle Kinder sind Botschafter] (Munich, Germany: Nazraeli Press, 1992) pl. 25.