To coincide with a presentation of 24 vintage photographs from August Sander’s life-long project ‘People of the 20th Century’, we are delighted to welcome Gerd and Julian Sander to the gallery to discuss the legacy of the artist and this body of work. Gerd Sander, who selected the images for the presentation, comments that ‘these 24 photographs summarise what August Sander focused on over the 50 years of his professional life: a depiction of humanity’.
‘See, observe and think.’
This was Sander’s motto. He said if we, as the viewer, do these three things, then all our questions about his project will be answered. True to this ideal, my grandfather wrote a dedication in a book he gave me.
‘God provides the nuts but he doesn’t crack them for us’ (Goethe)
– Gerd Sander
About the artist
August Sander was born in Herdorf, a small rural village east of Cologne, in 1876. He was one of nine children of a peasant and miner family. Sander is now viewed as a forefather of conceptual art and a pioneering documentarian of human diversity. In his project ‘People of the 20th Century’, which spanned four decades of his life, Sander strove to systematically document contemporary German society through his photographs and to reveal the truth of its ethnic and class diversity.
About Gerd Sander
Gerd Sander is a photographer, collector, archivist and grandson of August Sander. After completing his secondary school education in 1957, Gerd Sander went on to learn the trade of photography. In the following years Gerd Sander traveled throughout Europe and the USA. In 1971 he founded his own atelier in Cologne. In 1975 Gerd moved to the USA with his wife and two children. In 1976 Gerd opened the Sander Gallery in Washington D.C. which he moved to New York City’s SOHO neighborhood in 1983. In 1988 he moved back to Cologne after the death of his father, to continue his work on the August Sander Archive. In 1993 Gerd Sander found a partner in the Stiftung City-Treff who purchased the August Sander Archive. Gerd Sander continued to work with the August Sander Archive until 2011, in which time he curated exhibitions as well as researched and structured the negative archive of his grandfather.
Since 2012 Gerd Sander has been focusing on the biography of August Sander as well as his own memoirs.
About Julian Sander
Julian Sander is the owner of Galerie Julian Sander in Cologne, director of the August Sander Family Collection and a photographer. As the great-grandson of August Sander, he has focused his career as a gallerist and foundation director on the explanation and presentation of August Sander’s work, and in particular its humanist ethic.
Image: August Sander (1876 – 1964), Straßenmusikanten (Street Musicians), 1922-1925 © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv, Köln/2018, ProLitteris, Zürich