August Sander

Farming Couple – Propriety and Harmony, 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 divided his project into seven groups, the first of which he called ‘The Farmer’. This image appears in the sub-group, ‘The Portfolio of Archetypes’. In this photograph the man meets the viewer’s gaze, a usual feature of Sander’s work, but his wife does not. She looks away, her face etched deeply and her mouth drooping and allows her bouquet to hang down her lap. The downward motion is repeated by her left hand, which hangs from the arm-rest and by the position of his right hand, placed upon her shoulder. Her bouquet and head-dress suggest this may have been commissioned to commemorate a wedding anniversary. This was the second double portrait in the ‘Portfolio of Archetypes’ and reverses the position of the figures in the first work of the same title. The use of the same title for two images and the use of a similar setting underlines Sander’s ambition to produce a typology of universally human qualities.

see media
  • title: Farming Couple – Propriety and Harmony, 1912
  • accession number: AL00012
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1912
  • measurements: 25.90 x 19.00 cm (paper 44.00 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.