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Death Mask of Erich Sander, 1944
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2015

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Death Mask of Erich Sander, 1944 1944

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
This is one of the few personal images included within August Sander’s monumental documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’. It is a photograph of a death mask of Sander’s son Erich that was made by the Cologne painter and sculptor Hans Schmitz (1896–1977) on Sander’s request. Erich had been active in left-wing political movements in the early 1930s and was persecuted by the National Socialists in 1934. He died tragically in Siegburg prison in 1944, having been denied medical assistance to treat an acute infection. Sander included the photograph in the seventh and final group of images in his project, entitled ‘The Last People’. Together with two photographs from this group that show a man and woman on their deathbeds, the image testifies to Sander’s reflections on the cycle of life and death to which we are all subject.


  • Acc. No. AL00119
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 25.90 x 19.20 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