[Rochester]: Aperture, 1963. 4to. 21 leaves. Original white cloth, lettered in black on upper cover. Some pale spotting, generally tight and sound, the photographs crisp. Item #401618
FIRST EDITION, deluxe clothbound issue of Frederick Sommer’s first book and the first book issued by Aperture in hardcover (it was originally published as Aperture 10:4). The cloth issue was not offered for sale, but distributed to close friends of the publisher and photographer. The cloth issue is rumored to be 50 copies. “An almost perfect monograph”; “this early enactment of Sommer’s ideas about the workings of linguistic and pictorial logic is a gem” (101 Books, pp.162-3). Sommer was born in Italy, then raised in Brazil, educated at Cornell, and finally settled with his wife and muse Frances Watson in Tucson, Arizona in 1931. He was close friends with Max Ernst, and the cryptic, haunting subject matter captured by the self-taught photographer has certain affinities with the surrealists. MoMA first collected Sommer’s work in 1941 for its Image of Freedom exhibition. Open Book, pp.192-3.
101 Books, pp.162-3; The Open Book, pp.192-3; Roth 162-163.