Farming Couple – Propriety and Harmony, 1912
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2014

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Farming Couple – Propriety and Harmony, 1912 1912
  • Artist Rooms
August Sander’s ambition to create a photographic documentation of all ‘types’ of German people resulted in the collection ‘The People of the 20th Century’. He divided his project into seven groups, the first of which he called ‘The Farmer’. This image appears in the sub-group, ‘The Portfolio of Archetypes’. The photograph is one of two compositions of the same title, shot in 1912. Here, Sander uses his title to evoke a world of meaning beyond this couple, photographed standing in a clearing before a wooded hill. The propriety and harmony suggested by the title are illustrated subtly in their poses. She leans lightly against the shoulder he proffers by lowering it in her direction; a slight but powerful indication of their intimacy and familiarity. The composition is determined by the vertical emphasis of tree trunks echoed in his walking stick. The couple’s sturdy materiality perhaps suggests the permanence of their union, cast as universal by Sander’s omission of their names.


  • Acc. No. AL00011
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 25.80 x 18.70 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.80 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm; frame: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010