August Sander

National Socialist, Head of Department of Culture, c.1938 (about 1938)

About this artwork

This is the final portrait in the sub-portfolio entitled ‘National Socialists’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ in August Sander’s photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’. It differs from the other images in the portfolio in its composition. In profile, its subject looks straight ahead out of the left of the image, foregoing the eye contact Sander often sought to establish between his model and the camera. The National Socialist’s swastika armband in its stark black-and-white contrast is the focal point of the image, echoing the strong contrasts of light and dark that alternate on his left ear. The photograph demonstrates Sander’s exemplary mastery of illumination, causing light to emerge gradually from the dark greys in the backdrop and the official’s uniform to culminate in the band on his arm. The subject is the party member of the highest rank included in the portfolio.

see media
  • title: National Socialist, Head of Department of Culture, c.1938
  • accession number: AL00151
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: about 1938
  • measurements: 26.00 x 19.20 cm (paper 43.90 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.