Date: 1944 (negative), 1970s (print)
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions: Sheet: 9 5/8 x 7 9/16 in. (24.4 x 19.2 cm)
Acquired through the Jennifer, Gale, and Ira Drukier Fund, with additional support from the Class of 1962 Fund for Photography
A 1927 graduate of Cornell, Sommer earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture, but abandoned his career four years later after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. He and his wife, Frances Watson, moved to Arizona in 1931, where he began experimenting with photography, using a variety of techniques to create complex, surreal compositions. Artificial Leg juxtaposes the parched earth and leg, which still retains partial swathes of the original leather casing. It is an image of decay and pestilence, a powerful momento mori. (“Highlights from the Collection: 45 Years at the Johnson," curated by Stephanie Wiles and presented at the Johnson Museum January 27–July 22, 2018)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.