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Valise d'Adam
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© Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation

Frederick Sommer
American, USA, 1949
Gelatin silver print
9 7/16 x 7 7/16 in.
94.XM.37.25

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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.