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Oral history interview with Rosanne Somerson, 2006 August 7 and 2007 June 22

Interviewee:
Somerson, Rosanne, 1954-  Search this
Interviewer:
Michie, Thomas S., 1956-  Search this
Subject:
Abramson, Ron  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Capanigro, Paul  Search this
Cooke, Ned  Search this
Dunnigan, John  Search this
Fairbanks, Jonathan L.  Search this
Follen, Eck  Search this
Frid, Tage  Search this
Jackson, Dan  Search this
Joseph, Peter T. (Peter Thomas)  Search this
Kagan, Richard  Search this
Keck, Hardu  Search this
Kranov, James  Search this
Maruyama, Wendy  Search this
Mattia, Alphonse  Search this
Melanson, Gracie  Search this
Osgood, Jere  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Swanson, Charlie  Search this
Szasz, Merlin  Search this
White, Leroy  Search this
Wolf, Hans  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Peters Valley (Craft center)  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design  Search this
Richard Kagan Gallery  Search this
Snyderman Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Fine woodworking  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Educators -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture design -- Study and teaching  Search this
Photography  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13618
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)271125
AAA_collcode_somers06
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_271125
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Rosanne Somerson

Topic:
Fine woodworking
Interviewee:
Somerson, Rosanne, 1954-  Search this
Interviewer:
Michie, Thomas S.  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Peters Valley (Craft center)  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Students  Search this
Richard Kagan Gallery  Search this
Snyderman Gallery  Search this
Abramson, Ron  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Capanigro, Paul  Search this
Cooke, Ned  Search this
Dunnigan, John, 1950-  Search this
Fairbanks, Jonathan L.  Search this
Follen, Eck  Search this
Frid, Tage  Search this
Jackson, Dan  Search this
Joseph, Peter T. (Peter Thomas), 1950-1998  Search this
Kagan, Richard  Search this
Keck, Hardu  Search this
Kranov, James  Search this
Maruyama, Wendy, 1952-  Search this
Mattia, Alphonse  Search this
Melanson, Gracie  Search this
Osgood, Jere, 1936-  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Swanson, Charlie  Search this
Szasz, Merlin  Search this
White, Leroy  Search this
Wolf, Hans  Search this
Extent:
61 Pages (Transcripts)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2006 August 7 and 2007 June 22
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Rosanne Somerson conducted 2006 August 7-2007 June 22, by Thomas Michie, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, Rhode Island. In part one of this interview, Somerson speaks of growing up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; attending RISD beginning in 1971; being asked to teach there nine years later; creating a new department of furniture design; tailoring that furniture design program to encompass the development from design to manufacture; introducing materials other than wood into the program; garnering international attention through worldwide exhibits; her first show at the Richard Kagan Gallery in Philadelphia; participating in a group show in New York City for female woodworkers; making connections through the Snyderman Gallery and Pritam and Eames Gallery; working directly with clients on commissioned pieces; the financial stability of teaching; designing a piece for the headquarters of Khon, Peterson Fox, and Conway in New York; the sculptural elements present in many of her works; moving from a small studio in Boston, Massachusetts, to a larger studio in Westport, Connecticut, and finally to a shared studio in Fall River, Massachusetts; the supportive and proud reaction of her children to her work; creating a production company with colleagues and designing furniture for the RISD dormitories; attempting to make these designs both flexible and environmentally-friendly; putting aside teaching for an administrative position in the department; recent travel to Japan, Australia, England, Israel, and France; enrolling in summer programs with art schools like Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine and others; and excitement for her upcoming sabbatical.
In the second portion of the interview, she discusses living in a house built by her father in Wyncote, Pennsylvania; enjoying the location of the house on a former cherry orchard and consequently being drawn cherry wood as a medium; the feeling of her parents that anything could be accomplished with a certain amount of study; her mother's interest in weaving and spinning later in life; the creative pursuits of her older brothers, including creative writing and photography; verbally communicating the outside world to her blind grandfather and gaining an aptitude for interpreting visual imagery; being more academically than artistically focused in her youth; visiting art museums and having other cultural experiences with her family; being fascinated with photography by seeing her brother's work; deciding to put off college in order to spend a year in Denmark studying photography; enrolling in RISD and feeling overwhelmed at first by her inexperience; taking a winter course in wood-working and preferring it to photography; being advised by her teacher Tage Frid to gain a wood-working education by pursuing sculpture at RISD; transferring into industrial design later; learning a great deal from and being extraordinarily influenced by Tage Frid as a furniture designer and teacher; taking a semester off to attend Peters Valley Craftsmen in New Jersey; spending a few years after graduation assisting Frid with the writing and publication of his articles; working as an assistant editor for Fine Woodworking magazine; being offered a job at RISD in the furniture department; creating the furniture design program; using RISD's collection as inspiration for her work and as a teaching tool; moving towards using more local woods in her designs; her recent lecture and travel in China; and looking forward to focusing on her work in the new studio.
Somerson recalls John Dunnigan, Dick Kagan, Ned Cooke, Jonathan Fairbanks, Wendy Maruyama, James Krenov, Dan Jackson, Jere Osgood, Alphonse Mattia, Peter Joseph, Ron Abramson, Charlie Swanson, Eck Follen, Peter Walker, and others. In the second part, Somerson recalls Merlin Szasz, LeRoy White, Hardu Keck, Gracia Melanson, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Paul Crot, Paul Capanigro, Tage Frid, Hans Wolfe, Mark Sfirri, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Rosanne Somerson (1954- ) is a professor of furniture design and furniture designer and maker in Westport, Massachusetts. Thomas Michie is a curator of decorative arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 3 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Furniture designers -- Rhode Island  Search this
Topic:
Decorative arts  Search this
Educators -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture design -- Study and teaching  Search this
Photography  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Function:
Artists' studios
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.somers06
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-somers06

Conradi Gesneri Tigurini medicinae et philosophiae professoris in Schola Tigurina, Historiae animalium Lib. V : qui est De serpentium natura : ex varijs schedis et collectaneis eiusdem compositus / per Iacobum Carronum Francofurtensem ; adiecta est ad calcem, scorpionis insecti historia à D. Casparo Vuolphio Tigurino Medico, ex eiusdem paralipomenis conscripta ; accesserunt indices nominum serpentium secundum diuersas linguas & ante illos enumeratio eo ordine quo in hoc volumine continentur

Title:
Historiae animalium Lib. V
De serpentium natura
De serpentibus
Author:
Gessner, Conrad 1516-1565  Search this
Carronus, Jacob  Search this
Wolf, Hans Kaspar 1532-1601  Search this
Former owner:
Schmarda, Ludwig K (Ludwig Karl) 1819-1908 DSI  Search this
Inzaghi, Joannes Josephus d. 1722 DSI  Search this
National Zoological Park (U.S.) DSI  Search this
Donor:
Burndy Library DSI  Search this
Bookseller:
C.E. Haessler (Firm) DSI  Search this
Publisher:
Officina Froschouiana  Search this
Physical description:
[6], 85, [1], 11, [1] leaves : ill. (woodcuts) ; 42 cm. (fol.)
Type:
Early works to 1800
Pre-Linnean works
Date:
1587
MDLXXXVII [1587]
Topic:
Snakes  Search this
Scorpions  Search this
Dragons  Search this
Serpents  Search this
Zoology  Search this
Call number:
QL41 .G39h liber 4, 1558
QL41.G39h liber 4, 1558
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_314895

Keramik aus Schwarz-Afrika und Alt-Amerika : die Sammlung Hans Wolf - Zürich = Ceramics from Black-Africa and ancient America : the Hans Wolf collection - Zurich = Céramique de l'Afrique noire et d'Amérique précolombienne : la collection Hans Wolf - Zurich / Karl Ferdinand Schaedler

Author:
Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand  Search this
Subject:
Wolf, Hans Private collections  Search this
Physical description:
345 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa
America
Date:
1985
C1985
Topic:
Pottery--Private collections  Search this
Terra-cotta sculpture--Private collections  Search this
Call number:
NK3740.W853 S29 1985
NK3740.W853S29 1985
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_261418

De stirpivm collectione tabvlae tvm generales, tvm per dvodecim menses, cum germanicis nominibus, &c alijs hactenus à nemine traditis, olim per Conradum Gesnerum conscriptæ ac æditæ: nunc authoris opera locupletatæ, & de nouo in vsum pharmacopolarum luci datæ, per Casparvm VVolphivm ... accesservnt de stirpibus & earum partibus tabulæ ex Theophrasti præcipuè libris confectæ, eodem Gesnero authore

Title:
De stirpium collectione tabulae tum generales
Author:
Gessner, Conrad 1516-1565  Search this
Wolf, Hans Kaspar 1532-1601  Search this
Physical description:
146 numb. l. 16 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1587
Topic:
Botany, Medical  Search this
Call number:
QK99.A1 G39
QK99.A1G39
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_147329

Jeff Wall : the crooked path / Hans de Wolf (ed.)

Title:
Crooked path
Author:
Wall, Jeff 1946-  Search this
Wolf, Hans De  Search this
Palais des beaux-arts (Brussels, Belgium)  Search this
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea  Search this
Subject:
Wall, Jeff 1946-  Search this
Physical description:
255 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2011
C2011
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_972668

Jeff Wall : El sendero sinuoso : Centro Calego de Arte Contemporánea, 12 noviembre 2011 - 26 febrero 2012 / comisario, Joël Benzakin en colaboración con Jeff Wall ; Hans de Wolf (ed.)

Title:
Sendero sinuoso
Author:
Wall, Jeff 1946-  Search this
Wolf, Hans De  Search this
Benzakin, Joël  Search this
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea  Search this
Palais des beaux-arts (Brussels, Belgium)  Search this
Subject:
Wall, Jeff 1946-  Search this
Wall, Jeff 1946- Criticism and interpretation  Search this
Physical description:
247 p. : col. ill. ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Canada
Date:
2011
Topic:
Conceptual art  Search this
Photographers  Search this
Call number:
TR647 .W358 2011
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_997354

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