Artists > Sander, August (the August Sander Collection)
August Sander was born 17 November 1876, in Herdorf near Cologne. He was the son of a carpenter working in the mining industry. Sander first learned about photography by assisting a photographer who was working for the mining company. With financial support from his uncle, he bought his first photographic equipment and started to teach himself about photography.
He spent his military service 1897–1899, as a photographer’s assistant under Georg Jung. In the following years he traveled to Berlin, Magdeburg, Halle, Leipzig and Dresden among others, working in photographic studios. In 1901, he started working for the Photographische Kunstanstalt Greif in Linz, Austria; eventually becoming its sole proprietor in 1904. He left Linz at the end of 1910 due to his son becoming ill with polio. He established a new studio in the Lindenthal neighborhood of Cologne.
In the early 1920s, Sander met regularly with the “Group of Progressive Artists” in Cologne including the very influential artists Franz W. Seiwert and Heinrich Hoerle. It was at this time that he formalized the concept for his major project, Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts. In November 1927, Sander introduced his project in an exhibition in the Kölnische Kunstverein, of approximately 100 portraits. This well received exhibition led to the publishing of his first book “Antlitz der Zeit” (Face of Our Time) in 1929. The artist spent six months organizing the presentation and layout of the 60 portraits in the book; it was
a preview for the larger project to be called “Menschen des 20. Jahrhundert.”
The Nazi party came to power in 1933, the book was seized in 1936 and the printing plates were destroyed. Also in 1934, August’s son Erich, who was a member of the left wing Socialist Workers’ Party, was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died in 1944, shortly before the end of his sentence.
Around 1942, Sander began to leave Cologne and move to a little village in the Westerwald named Kuchhausen. From 1942 on Sander relocated the most important parts of his negative archive to Kuchhausen. His studio in Cologne was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. Sander continued to work on his project “People of the 20th Century” throughout the rest of his life. He added to and edited his selections for the project making notes on the negative plates and in his letters to friends.
In 1951, August Sander exhibited at the Photokina in Cologne. This was initiated and supported by L. Fritz Gruber, who was a publicist and supporter of photography and an old friend of the family. In 1953, Sander was visited by Edward Steichen, who selected a number of works to be included in his exhibition, “The Family of Man,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1955.
Sander died in Cologne on 20 April 1964. His work includes landscape, nature, architecture, and street photography, but he is best known for his portraits, as exemplified in his project, “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts.”
Legacy of August Sander
The legacy of Sander’s work continued with his son Gunther, who was trained by and worked with his father until his death in 1964. Picking up the threads of August’s projects, Gunther continued to develop and work with the photographs August had taken. With a deep understanding of his father’s work, Gunther made the first curation of August’s magnum opus, publishing his selection of portraits under the title that August had originally planned, Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts (1980). Gunther Sander passed the torch to the next generation, gifting the entire body of work by August Sander to Gerd Sander in 1984. Gerd Sander founded the August Sander Archive in 1984 on Greene Street in New York City.
August Sander’s grandson Gerd Sander, was the leading authority on August Sander and highly respected throughout the photography world. He trained as a photographer, working both in his father’s studio, Sander Photo in Cologne, as well as operating his own photographic studio until 1974. Soon after, Gerd moved to the United States where he opened the Sander Gallery in Washington D.C., and later in New York City. Gerd has dedicated his life to understanding and presenting his grandfathers body of work. As as a gallerist, Gerd established August Sander as a primary figure in the history of photography by placing works in museums and collections throughout the world.
In 1988, Gerd moved the August Sander Archive in Cologne. After curating the August Sander Archive he sold the collection to the SK-Stiftung Kultur in Cologne. He is the retired Chairman of the Board of the Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, where he co-edited, researched and curated with Susanne Lange and Gabriele Conrath-Scholl the selection of 619 photographs for August Sander: People of the 20th Century, a seven-volume publication and the definitive reference for the artist’s masterwork. After retiring from the Photographische Sammlung, he returned his energy to the research of August Sander’s life, the personal and professional, as well as the story of his family. This work continues to this day.
In the family tradition, August Sander’s great grandson Julian Sander founded the FEROZ Galerie in 2009. Julian has an exceptional understanding and passion for photography that comes from his own personal interest, as well as having grown up surrounded by photography of the great masters. The FEROZ Gallery was later renamed to Galerie Julian Sander.The Galerie Julian Sander represents the Estate of August Sander, as well as the private collection of the Sander family.
As representatives of the worlds largest collection of works by August Sander we present all works by August Sander on this homepage under Section 58 and Section 60c of German UrhG. Every work by August Sander on this homepage is available for purchase through our gallery in Cologne or through our continued cooperation with Museums, Universities and other public institions.
Artworks of Artist
Lumpenball (Mamakuba: Frau Arntz, Jankel Adler, Martha Hegemann und Anton Räderscheit)
ASA.3.39.148L Lumpenball Postcard [v.l. Heinrich Davringhausen, Lore Auerbach, mit Mütze Alois Faust, g.r. Dr Andreas Becker]
Handelsblatt on August Sander
October 11, 2013
In the weekend edition of Handelsblatt is an article on August Sander vintage prints, a pdf of the article can be downloaded here: Handelsblatt
Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Julian Sander now co-represent the August Sander Family Collection
February 09, 2017
We are pleased to announce that Hauser & Wirth now co-represents the August Sander Family Collection in collaboration with Galerie Julian Sander, Cologne. August Sander’s encyclopedic magnum opus, ‘People of the…