1904 Müller & Wetzig Prize for “outstanding achievement”, 1961 Culture Prize of the German Photographic Association for his life’s work – August Sander, exponent of the New Objectivity movement and one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, could not complain of being underappreciated.
He was famous above all for his portrait photography, in particular the monumental and epoch-making work “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts”. From 1924 onwards, in over 600 photographs Sander sought typical representatives of specific vocations and social strata. He also intended his photographs to reflect the individuality and psychological state of those that he portrayed - the aesthetic value was as important to him here as a documentary neutrality. As a result of being awarded the Culture Prize in 1961, two years later he decided to compile a selection of 70 motifs from his portrait series and present these in enlarged format, painstakingly produced by his son and grandson and presented to the critical gaze of the grandfather. The Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig is delighted to now be able to display this series of photographs, compiled by the photographer himself.
August Sander had a close relationship with Leipzig, which has not yet received sufficient acknowledgement. He spent time in Leipzig during his training and maintained close contacts to the Leipzig publisher Ernst Arthur Seemann, who praised Sander’s photographic skills, particularly his colour photographs, in letters to his friends. At the “photo show” staged by the Saxon and Thuringian Photographers Association under the patronage of King Georg of Saxon at the Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus Leipzig from 5 September to 20 October 1904 Sander was awarded the aforementioned Müller & Wetzig Prize.