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’. In this photograph the man meets the viewer’s gaze, a usual feature of Sander’s work, but his wife does not. She looks away, her face etched deeply and her mouth drooping and allows her bouquet to hang down her lap. The downward motion is repeated by her left hand, which hangs from the arm-rest and by the position of his right hand, placed upon her shoulder. Her bouquet and head-dress suggest this may have been commissioned to commemorate a wedding anniversary. This was the second double portrait in the ‘Portfolio of Archetypes’ and reverses the position of the figures in the first work of the same title. The use of the same title for two images and the use of a similar setting underlines Sander’s ambition to produce a typology of universally human qualities.


  • Acc. No. AL00012
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 25.90 x 19.00 cm (paper 44.00 x 34.00 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