August Sander

Foster-mother, c.1930 (about 1930)

About this artwork

In around 1930 August Sander took a series of photographs of blind children and adults during a visit to The Institute for the Blind in Düren, near his home town of Cologne. He assigned a large number of these images to the seventh group of photographs that concludes his monumental project ‘People of the 20th Century’. This group, entitled ‘The Last People’, is dedicated to giving visibility to those figures who are usually confined to the margins of society: the ill, the disabled, the old and the insane. It testifies to the humanitarian concerns that underpin Sander’s attempt to document photographically the social conditions and structures in his native Germany at that time. The foster mother in nun’s attire who stands at the centre of this picture may be read as the personification of these concerns.

see media
  • title: Foster-mother, c.1930
  • accession number: AL00134
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: about 1930
  • measurements: 26.00 x 19.70 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.