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August Sander: Young Farmers, 1914, © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv, Köln; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2018

Room 1
August Sander – Masterpieces
Photographs from "People from the 20th Century"

September 7, 2018 –  January 27, 2019

The portrait photographs by August Sander count among the masterworks of their kind. Ever since acquiring the photographer’s estate, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur has been busy cataloguing the Sander archive and has already presented these photographs in several theme-based shows. With “People of the 20th Century,” his most famous photographic compendium, Sander aspired to nothing less than to document the society of his day, based on examples of people pursuing different occupations and from various walks of life. The conceptually planned body of work testifies to the photographer’s acuity of perception and consummate skill at the use of the photographic medium. Over the decades, pictures such as “Young Farmers” (1914) and “Pastry Cook” (1928) have become photographic icons. But August Sander’s portraiture in fact harbors a large number of motifs of remarkable quality. These images provide insights, for example, into the population of the rural Westerwald region, the artist communities in Cologne and Berlin, and city life in general during his era.
In the current exhibition, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur is displaying a representative selection of more then 150 original prints from “People of the 20th Century.” The majority come from the collection’s own holdings, joined by works on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; the Museum Ludwig Cologne/Photography Collection, the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin and private collections. Based on many years of research, the accompanying catalogue traces the genesis of these works in great depth and detail.

Room 2
A Look at the Collections:
Hugo Erfurth – Pictures

September 7, 2018 –  January 27, 2019

Another exhibition on view in parallel presents portraits by Hugo Erfurth from the holdings of the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn and Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur. This project is a continuation of the cooperation between the two institutions that began in 2018. Works on loan from the Deutsche Fotothek Dresden are also included in the show.

After initially showing a penchant for genre photography and landscape, Erfurth increasingly turned to portraiture, at first with family members as his main subjects. With the purchase of the palace of Count Lüttichau in the center of Dresden in 1906, Erfurth’s studio developed into a prestigious focal point of the city’s cultural life. The photographer now devoted himself to portraying nobles and members of bourgeois society and the military, as well as artists. He was prized for his artistic compositions that sensitively captured the subject’s personality. Artists such as Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, and Richard Riemerschmid were among his sitters. Personalities can also be found Hugo Erfurth’s oeuvre that turn up again in photographs by August Sander. In addition to his commissions, Erfurth compiled a collection of portraits that he dubbed “Heads of My Time,” applying a systematic approach but not one comparable with the conceptual stringency of August Sander’s masterwork. Erfurth was heavily influenced by the art photography of his day, as evidenced for example by his use of elaborate printing techniques such as gum bichromate and oil printing, which produce a distinctively painterly surface quality. He remained true to oil printing his entire life – regardless of changing trends.

Room 3
August Sander Award 2018:
Franceso Neri: Farmers –
Photographs 2009–2018

September 7, 2018 –  January 27, 2019

A cabinet exhibition is being devoted to the first winner of the August Sander Award, launched in 2018, Francesco Neri, and his prizewinning series, “Farmers.” Neri began his photographic account of rural agricultural life in his home region in 2009, focusing mostly on portraiture. The project has given rise to sensitive portraits of farmers depicted in the settings where they live and work. Most of the pictures were taken outdoors in a garden or field, sometimes with a house or farmyard visible in the background. What the motifs share are obvious references to the subject’s activities, such as farming equipment included in the picture or certain clothing and postures. Francesco Neri has placed the individuals portrayed front and center in his images, carefully manipulating the lighting to surround them in a dense atmosphere.
Comprising 70 photographs, this show is the first extensive presentation of “Farmers.” The images were made using analogue large-format technology and printed as contact prints, most of them in color but with selected motifs in black-and-white.

Public Guided Tours

Each Sunday at 15 hrs during the exhibition period (in German, please contact us for tours in English)

The education programme is supported by the Society of Patrons of Die Photographische Sammlung.

New publications:

August Sander: Masterpieces
Francesco Neri: Farmers
Hugo Erfurth: Pictures

CD: Concert for August Sander

Further information


Opening hours and entrance fee

The exhibition opens daily 14-19hrs, closed on Wednesday

Entrance fee 5,50 € (red. 3,00 €)
Entrance free on the first Monday of each month!