Photography 1938-1955
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Max Ernst
Trimmed 8x10 inch contact print, 1946
Frederick Sommer first met the artist Max Ernst during a visit to Los Angeles in 1941. After spending the summer of 1943 in Sedona, Arizona, Ernst visited Sommer briefly in Prescott before leaving in October. In February 1946 Ernst moved to Sedona with his new partner, the painter Dorothea Tanning, and by the end of summer had built a small cabin where they maintained a residence until 1958. Once Ernst and Tanning were settled, they visited with the Sommers on the weekends for several years in both Prescott and Sedona.

Sommer was disappointed with the negative he had taken of the surrealist painter and discarded it in to the corner of his darkroom counter. Later, when cleaning out the corner he picked up the negative with another rejected negative, of water seepage stains on a cement wall and realized he had something special. Exposing the negatives separately (one after the other) onto the same sheet of photographic paper, Sommer created this unique portrait of Max Ernst.

Ernst traveled extensively between 1953-56 leading to an accounting error and confusion about the eligibility of his citizenship under the McCarran Act. It was this error on the part of the government that lead to Ernst leaving Sedona to reside in France in 1958.

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