August Sander

The Fighter or Revolutionary, 1912 (1912)

About this artwork

August Sander’s ambition to create a photographic documentation of all ‘types’ of German people resulted in the collection ‘The People of the 20th Century’. He hoped to create images that showed their subjects truthfully and that, unified as a series, would mirror their times and social conditions. Sander divided his project into seven groups and the series began with a group he called ‘The Farmer’. In this work from the ‘Portfolio of Archetypes’, a woman is seated on a chair outside, the snow-covered ground receding before a group of trees and a two-storey house. This is the only female portrait taken outside in this portfolio and its composition has a strong vertical emphasis. Closely framed, the figure’s height is further extended by the dark tree-trunk which continues through the picture plane. The scarf she wears lies over her cheeks, elongating her face, and framing its lined skin with woven cloth in a delicate interplay of textures. Sander included another portrait from 1925 with the same name in this portfolio, underlining his intention that these photographs be considered not as individual pieces, but as parts of a unified series.

see media
  • title: The Fighter or Revolutionary, 1912
  • accession number: AL00008
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1912
  • measurements: 25.80 x 19.00 cm (paper 43.9 x 34.00 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm; frame: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • copyright: © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

August Sander

August Sander

Considered one of the finest photographers of the twentieth century, Sander's bold style of portrait photography, as well as his typological approach, has had an enormous influence on modern photography. During his apprenticeship in several German studios and his time in his own studio in Austria, he developed his individual style. Then in 1910 Sander moved to Cologne and produced his first large group of photographs, which he later included in his concept "People of the 20th Century". This was created in the mid-1920s and compiled up until the 1950s. He photographed groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society.