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The Sage (Die Weise)

A work made of gelatin silver print.
© Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv Köln / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.


1913, printed later


August Sander
German, 1876–1964

About this artwork

A professional portraitist based in Cologne, August Sander (German, 1876–1964) had already amassed numerous photographs of farmers and peasants in the surrounding region when he decided in the early 1920s to expand his record and expressly document all classes, occupations, and lifestyles in the nation. This monumental undertaking, to which Sander gave the name People of the Twentieth Century, eventually grew to include more than 600 portraits (and thousands of poses) that formed a “physiognomical time exposure of German man,” in the photographer’s words. Remarkably consistent in their lighting and poses, and hung or reproduced in pairs in Sander’s lifetime, the portraits invite comparative analysis, suggesting limitless types rather than the quite limited typecasting espoused by Nazism, to which Sander grew increasingly opposed.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


August Sander


The Sage (Die Weise)


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1913


Gelatin silver print


Unmarked recto; stamped verso, upper center, in black ink: "Fotografen Pflicht - Jnnung / Aug. Sander / Berufsfotograf / Köln-L'thal / Dürenerstr.201 / Köln"; inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: "1" [encircled]


30 × 23.5 cm (11 13/16 × 9 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Hugh Edwards Photography and Media Purchase Fund

Reference Number



© Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv Köln / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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