August Sander

Political Prisoner [Marcel Ancelin], 1943 (1943)

About this artwork

From the mid-1920s until the end of his life August Sander worked on his monumental photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’. He classified more than 500 photographs into seven groups representing the social structures and transformations of the time, documenting and cataloguing the different professional classes and employment divisions in his native Germany. Shortly after World War II, in the mid-1940s, he composed two portfolios of photographs that dealt with the elimination of certain social classes and groups by the Nazis. The portfolio entitled ‘Political Prisoners’, from the group ‘The City’, shows men incarcerated in Siegburg Prison who did not conform to National Socialist politics. The portraits were taken by Sander’s son Erich, who had been persecuted because of his involvement with the ‘Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands [Socialist Workers’ Party of Germany]’. A trained photographer, Erich was assigned the task of taking photographs for the Nazi’s documentation purposes during his imprisonment.

see media
  • title: Political Prisoner [Marcel Ancelin], 1943
  • accession number: AL00113
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1943
  • measurements: 24.80 x 20.00 cm (paper 43.90 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.