When people speak about masterpieces of modern photography, when the question is which one is the pioneering incunabulum among them, and when talks is of singling out the most famous photographic project in history, then many would readily agree that August Sander’s “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts” (“People of the 20th Century”) merits that honor.
Grisebach has the pleasure to announce that at the auction on November 27th, 2019, there will be 70 portraits on offer as part of a unique set that has never before been available on the auction market. From 1961 to 1963, shortly before his death, Sander himself compiled these photographs for a final exhibition. The unique set of images available at the auction bears his own personal stamp and serves as the epitome of his life’s work and legacy.
Sander developed this collection over the course of several decades as a “Kulturwerk in Lichtbildern” (“cultural oeuvre in photographs”), one that would be “divided into seven groups based on social classes […].” The collection was to encompass 600 images.
Sander’s objective was nothing less than “to create a true-to-life visual document of our times by means of photography.” With his visual aesthetic, Sander – who is considered the pioneering exponent of conceptual realism in documentary photography – became a seminal influence for countless other photographers, including Walker Evans, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Thomas Ruff.
The world which he shows is a vulnerable and fragile one – and thus invites the contemporary viewer to carefully observe his own self and surroundings.
“How to write sociology without actually writing but instead by presenting images, images of faces, rather than folk costumes and suchlike, this is what the eye of this photographer and his intellect, his observation and his knowledge, not to mention his immense photographic skill, have achieved.” (Alfred Döblin in his preface to: August Sander. Antlitz der Zeit “The Face of Our Time”, 1929).
18 October – 8 November 2019