August Sander

Widower, 1914 (1914)

About this artwork

This portrait of a widower is the only acknowledgement of death in the portfolio entitled The Family, though not within the whole of August Sander’s photographic opus ‘People of the 20th Century’ to which it belongs. Significantly, Sander includes it in the group ‘The Woman’, suggesting here that she is present by her absence. The bereaved stand close together, the father looking in three-quarter profile into the right distance, perhaps contemplating this missing figure. Flanking him, their shaved heads echoing his partially bald one, his two boys look back at the photographer. Emphasising the magnitude of his loss, the baby-faced widower appears only slightly taller than his sons, whose matching outfits and short pants suggest that they are still children. The widower photographed here also appears in the photograph ‘The Pastry Cook’ (1928) from the group ‘The Skilled Tradesman’.

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  • title: Widower, 1914
  • accession number: AL00122
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1914
  • measurements: 26.00 x 17.50 cm (paper 44.00 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.