August Sander

Catholic Priest, 1927 (1927)

About this artwork

The first portrait in the portfolio entitled ‘The Clergyman’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ in August Sander’s project ‘People of the 20th Century’ shows a Catholic priest leaning on the back of a chair wearing a soutane and cap. Sander divided 500 photographs into seven groups, made up of over 45 portfolios classified according to the estates, professions and living environments of the German people. Photographed in Cologne, the priest was probably an acquaintance of Sander’s. His pose – leaning casually against the back of a chair – and his genial expression suggest a dynamic personality and an easy communication with the photographer. Framed against a flat white background, his dark figure is removed from the formal environment of his chapel, suggesting a more intimate moment in his daily life.

see media
  • title: Catholic Priest, 1927
  • accession number: AL00072
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1927
  • measurements: 25.90 x 18.80 cm (paper 44.00 x 34.00 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 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.