SOMM Henry


Watercolour on paper: 51 x 35 cm / 20.1 x 13.8 in
Signed lower right

Painter of genre scenes and figures; watercolourist, engraver, illustrator and draughtsman. Impressionist.

After his studies in Rouen, Henry Somm arrived in Paris in 1870, where he perfected his drawing technique. In 1879 and 1889 he took part in the exhibitions of the Impressionists held at Durand-Ruel in Paris. Initially deeply influenced by the Japonism, he wanted the government to send him on a mission to Japan. But the war of 1870 prevented it and he then resolved to devote himself to what would bring him his greatest success: scenes showing the Parisian ladies of his era.

This became his specialty and he exercised it with talent as shown in several watercolours, which Arsène Alexandre described in 1897 as “alluring by their very subject”, and elegant, inspired, lively, spiritual drawings that sometimes verged on satire.

These works were often much more than mere fashion illustrations and they have echoes of the art of Constantin Guys or Toulouse-Lautrec, or even, in some ways, of Monet or Renoir.

Rouen 1844 - Paris 1907
French school

Auvers-sur-Oise - Cleveland - Kansas City - Paris - Rouen - San Francisco - Washington D.C.

E. Bénézit, "Dictionary of Artist", Paris 2006, Vol. 12, p. 1463.