August Sander

Children in Schemmergasse in Cologne, 1930 (1930)

About this artwork

Preoccupying him from the mid-1920s until the end of his life, August Sander’s ambitious project ‘People of the 20th Century’ aimed to chronicle the social structures and developments in his native Germany. He adopted a methodological approach, classifying over 500 photographs into seven groups: ‘The Farmer’, ‘The Skilled Tradesman’, ‘The Woman’, ‘Classes and Professions’, ‘The Artists’, ‘The City’ and ‘The Last People’. This picture is from the portfolio entitled ‘City Youth’, which includes twelve photographs of children and young people, within the sixth group, ‘The City’. It shows a group of children lined up on the Cologne Street, Schemmergasse. The toys many of them hold suggest that this is their playground – a typical leisure environment for urban working-class children. The cobbled street has a dismal atmosphere, with rows of wire above long stretches of blank brick wall, muddy puddles in the foreground and not a single tree or patch of grass in sight.

see media
  • title: Children in Schemmergasse in Cologne, 1930
  • accession number: AL00103
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1930
  • measurements: 19.30 x 25.70 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 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.