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Three Generations of the Family, 1912
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2015

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Three Generations of the Family, 1912 1912

Not on display

  • 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 title indicates that it is a family portrait. It features an arrangement of seated and standing figures against a backdrop of trees. This portfolio, devoted to the exploration of the universal, human characteristics present in rural populations, is enriched by Sander’s family photograph, particularly because it is the first inclusion of children and youth. The different generations are also reflected in the family members’ carefully chosen clothing. The father’s modern suit and waistcoat contrast with the grandfather’s traditional tunic shirt, while the girls’ dresses and hair are juxtaposed with the grandmother’s formal costume and scarf. The theme of generations resurfaces in the later portfolio, ‘The Farmer’s Child and the Mother’, in such images as ‘Grandmother and Granddaughter’.


  • Acc. No. AL00013
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 18.20 x 25.80 cm (paper 43.90 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