Somm, Henry

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Henry Somm (1844-1907)
François-Clément Sommier


Was Henry Somm an Impressionist?



Somm only joined the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879:

At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Somm showed at least 4 works (catalogue numbers 228-230) (R2,p270). The first two being etches of calendres and the last at least two drawings for a book. He was invited by Degas (aR1).
See link for his -/-pictures. See link for an -/-account.


Henry Somm at the Salon:

Henry Somm exhibited at the Salon from 1881-85 and maybe until 1905 (iR1). He exhibited etchings (iR1).


Henry Somm at other exhibitions:

1889: Somm exhibited at Durand-Ruel (iR69;iR4).


Henry Somm as an artist:

Somm was a pupil Gustave Morin in Rouen and later of Isidore Pils (1813-75) in Paris (aR1;iR1;R3;iR65). Also made humoristic drawings, caricatures, illustrations and etchings for several illustrated newspapers and magazines (R3;iR24;iR70). Somm produced 7500 drawings and prints (aR1). Somm made many menus, invitations, visiting cards, vignettes and almanacs (iR70;iR65). 
Félix Bracquemond commissioned Somm to produce series of designs for plates, during his period as artistic director of Haviland porcelain factory (iR70;R3).
1867 onwards Somm was inspired by Japonism; it was Philippe Burty who introduced him to this art (aR1;iR65).
1890: Toulouse-Lautrec admires his work, depicting everyday life (R3). They were friends and together visited the cabaret ‘Le Chat Noir’, 84, Boulevard de Rochechouart, Montmartre (aR1).
Somm was interested in the effect of atmospheric light on shadow and colour, but he was not an Impressionist by pure definition and he was not considered a member of the group (aR1). His work intersects between Impressionism, Symbolism and Japonism (aR1).


François-Clément Sommier, a short biography:

  • 1844/02/29: François-Clément Sommier was born in 20, Rue Beauvoisine, Rouen (iR4;iR24;iR69;R3;iR1;iR65;iR70)
  • Henry (or: Henri) Somm was a pseudonyme (iR24;iR69;aR1)
  • 1867: went to Paris (aR1)
  • 1870: arrived in Paris (iR69)
  • 1881-83: Somm lived at 6, rue de Calais, Paris (iR1)
  • 1885: Somm lived at 29, rue Lepic, Paris (iR1)
  • 1885: wrote a one-act comedy called ‘La Berline de l’émigré; jamais trop tard pour bien faire’ (Eng.: The Emigrant’s Sedan, or Never too late to do it right) to be performed at La Chat Noir (iR4)
  • 1886: Somm and Henri Rivière began to experiment with shadow-theatre performances at the Chat Noir (iR70;aR1).
  • 1907/03/14: Henry Somm died in his house at 27, Boulevard de Rochechouart, Paris (iR4) Most sources (wrongly) mention he died the 15th (iR24;iR69;iR70;R3)





My main sources are Moffett (1986,R2), Walther (2013,R3,p698;2 pictures), The Salon database (iR1), RKD (iR24), Marques (iR65), Bénézit (iR69), Grove (iR70) and the additional references (=aRx; see below). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources for the pictures are Wikimedia (iR6) and xx. For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading:
Bénézit (1976,Vol.9,p695=R75;1999,vol.13,p16=R76); Busse (1977,p1176=R77); Witt (1978,p290=R78); Thieme/Becker (Vol.31,p272=R79); Künstlerlexikon (1999-2000,vol.9,p338=R81). (iR24)
Beraldi, H.: Les Graveurs du XIXe siècle; p.41-45. Paris, 1884-92. (iR70;iR65)
Additional references:

  1. (
  2. x