August Sander

The Woman of Progressive Intellect, 1914 (1914)

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 divided his project into seven groups, the first of which he called ‘The Farmer’. This image is the final one to appear in the sub-group, ‘The Portfolio of Archetypes’. The seated portrait is a work of precise observation filled with naturalist detail, making use of a sparse background that consists of an armchair and wallpaper that does little to distract from the sitter. The palette of medium-grey tones frames the woman’s serene face and resting hands. The sitter is clothed in a carefully ironed linen dress and lace bonnet. The book in her lap emphasises the intellectual involvement alluded to by the title.

see media
  • title: The Woman of Progressive Intellect, 1914
  • accession number: AL00010
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1914
  • measurements: 25.80 x 18.90 cm (paper 44.00 x 33.90 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.