August Sander

Midget Woman, 1920-24 (1920 - 1924)

About this artwork

August Sander’s monumental documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’ preoccupied him from the mid-1920s until his death in 1964. His intention was to chronicle the social structures and divisions in his native Germany. While many of the photographs included in the project show representatives of the working and middle classes, Sander also paid close attention to figures on the margins of society. These include artists, vagrants and gypsies, as well as people usually absent from everyday working life: the sick, the insane, the disabled and the old. This portrait of a female midget is from the seventh and final group of Sander’s project, which he titled ‘The Last People’ in allusion to the marginal status of the subjects depicted. However, rather than affirming this lowly status, here the unknown woman is portrayed smartly attired, her upright posture and confidently direct gaze indicating that she has established a respected place within society.

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  • title: Midget Woman, 1920-24
  • accession number: AL00162
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1920 - 1924
  • measurements: 26.10 x 17.50 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.