August Sander

Disabled ex-serviceman, c.1928 (about 1928)

About this artwork

In his monumental photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’, August Sander attempted to chronicle social worlds in radical transformation in his native Germany. More than 500 photographs are organised into seven groups that represent the social structures and employment divisions of the day. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Types and Figures of the City’, which depicts figures on the fringes of society, within the sixth group, ‘The City’. Its title, ‘Disabled Ex-Serviceman’, indicates that the subject is one of the many German soldiers crippled in service in World War I who were abandoned by the state to a life of abject poverty after their return home. The image is an example of the way in which Sander sought to use photography as a weapon for social and political reform by calling attention to issues of social injustice and exclusion.

see media
  • title: Disabled ex-serviceman, c.1928
  • accession number: AL00130
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: about 1928
  • measurements: 26.00 x 19.00 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.