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Signed lower right
Pencil, gouache and watercolour on paper
Image size 24 x 19,5 cm
Framed behind glass 36,5 x 31,5 cm
François Clément Sommier (Rouen 1844-1907 Paris) is best known under the pseudonym “Henry Somm”. He attended the local École municipale des beaux-arts and went on in 1867 to Paris, where he studied under Isidore Pils. Somm is perhaps best known for his depictions in both drawings and watercolours of Parisian society. Somm is a transitional figure between Impressionism, Symbolism and even Japonism.
Somm had the painter’s eye to the highest degree imaginable. He made drawings for journals and magazines like 'Charge', 'Gazette Parisienne', and later 'Le Chat Noir' en 'Le Rire'.
In 1867, Somm’s career reached a turning point with the discovery of Japanese culture through his friendship with French collector and critic Philippe Burty. The drypoints and etchings reflect a more literal borrowing of Japanese elements than refelctions of the work of Whistler or Monet,
Somm was a founding member of the artistic circle in the Chat Noir in Montmartre, where he could express his limitless imagination in the events, like the puppet show in 1886. One of the younger artists that came to the events was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The influence of Somm and Japonism can be seen in Le Divan Japonais. Toulouse-Lautrec is also one of the rare artists to have drawn portraits of Somm. The Van Gogh museum has 21 works of Somm in the collection.
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