August Sander

Political Prisoner [Erich Sander], 1943 (1943)

About this artwork

August Sander’s monumental photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’ was an attempt to chronicle the radical social transformations Germany was undergoing in the first half of the century. Taking a methodological approach, Sander classified more than 500 photographs into seven groups representing the social structures and classes of the time. In the mid-1940s he turned his analytical eye to the social upheaval caused by the Nazis, compiling a portfolio of portraits of Jews who had emigrated or been executed entitled ‘The Persecuted’, from the group ‘The City’. Another portfolio, entitled ‘Political Prisoners’, comprises pictures of individuals considered to be enemies of the state. This photograph was taken in Siegburg Prison by Sander’s son Erich who was persecuted in 1934 because of his left wing political activities. Tragically Erich died a few months before the end of his sentence, in March 1944.

see media
  • title: Political Prisoner [Erich Sander], 1943
  • accession number: AL00132
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1943
  • measurements: 25.60 x 18.90 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.