Image: Bach Chord
(Detroit, Michigan, 1867 - 1949, Northfield Center, Ohio)

Bach Chord , 1923

Oil on composition board
20 in. x 23 3/4 in. (50.8 cm x 60.33 cm)
Gift of Russell Munn in memory of Helen G. Munn
1992.45 a,b
The title of this work and the musical-note-shaped foliage on the tree to the left allude to Sommer’s interest in a turn-of-the-twentieth-century idea called synaesthesia.  This concept proposed parallels between the senses so that, for example, certain colors or shapes might suggest certain sounds.  Sommer said that when he listened to Bach’s music, he could “see in color the various movements of the music.”  Just as a chord is composed of multiple notes, Sommer painted the houses in this landscape in an array of colors that he highlighted by framing the structures with areas of white snow.  
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