Soon after August Sander (1876-1964) set up his studio in Cologne-Lindenthal in 1910, he found himself drawn again and again to the nearby Westerwald region. Sander photographed many families there over four decades, producing remarkable group and individual portraits as well as characteristic views of the landscape.
The works on view in the exhibition convey an impression of this special part of the August Sander Archive, which encompasses some 2,500 negatives and first became part of Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur under the name “Peasant Archive”. In the course of research on August Sander’s work, we were able to identify many of the people, families, and places on the negatives by comparing them to documents and numerous interviews conducted since the 1990s with contemporary witnesses, owners of Sander pictures, and family members.
Many of Sander’s pictures could also be dated more precisely as a result, making it possible to visualize more systematically the progress of his work in the Westerwald. Finally, cross-links became evident to his large-scale typological portrait series “People of the 20th Century” and a better overview emerged of the overall development of both his contract work and independent photography.
The photographs on display are new analogue prints produced between 1991 and 2014 by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur on the basis of Sander’s original negative plates. The selected motifs for the most part no longer exist as original prints, or they are privately owned or in other public collections. The technical reproductions shown in the exhibition represent a reinterpretation of Sander’s pictures that is oriented on the original quality of his enlargements. The similar size and tonality of the images facilitates their comparison, highlighting the compositional aspects and enabling a closer analysis.
A view of the collection: Westerwald. Portraits and Landscapes
13 Mar – 9 Aug 2015
Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur der Sparkasse KölnBonn
Im Mediapark 7