Showman with Performing Bear in Cologne, 1923
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2014

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Showman with Performing Bear in Cologne, 1923 1923
  • Artist Rooms
City life was a significant focus of August Sander’s monumental photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’. The portraits included in the project’s sixth group, ‘The City’, today provide invaluable historical documentation of the rapid urbanisation that Germany underwent in the early twentieth century. In his focus on urban life Sander aimed not only to capture social and political events and processes, but also representatives of certain city ‘types’. One type he was particularly interested in was the street musician and performer, a character who had been present in German society since before industrialisation. This photograph, from the portfolio ‘The Street and Street Life’ and classified in the group ‘The City’, shows a young man with his performing bear. The ‘showman’ and his bear are surrounded by a curious audience made up of children, youths and adults passing by on the cobbled streets of a middle-class neighbourhood.


  • Acc. No. AL00153
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 25.70 x 20.60 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010