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William Sommer (1867-1949)

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“William Sommer was the key person in bringing European modernism to Northeast Ohio. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and in his youth apprenticed for seven years to a lithographer.

He briefly studied at an art academy in Germany and then worked as a lithographer in New York before moving to Cleveland, where he was awarded a major contract with the Otis Lithography Company.

In 1911, Sommer co-founded a group in Cleveland called the Kokoon Club, and held exhibitions and lectures and organized an annual masked ball that became the focus of Cleveland’s bohemian life.

In 1913, he and his colleagues began painting at Brandywine, rejecting the conventional ideas of beauty, they strove for the expression of emotion and spontaneity and fantasy. One of Sommer’s most successful students was Charles Burchfield.”

—from the AskART.com archives

— Watercolor Masters: William Sommer © 2010 Greg Conley —