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The Photographic Collection/SK Foundation for Culture pays tribute to Gerd Sander. Photographer and art dealer passed away on 26 May 2021

The Photographic Collection/SK Foundation for Culture of Sparkasse KölnBonn remembers Gerd Sander, the grandson of the photographer August Sander, who passed away on 26 May 2021 at the age of 81. Gerd Sander was the initiator and important co-founder of the institution, which is now located in Cologne's Mediapark and centres on the August Sander Archive. The archive with thousands of original negatives, original prints, documents and materials of the old master, which Gerd Sander took over after the death of his father Gunther Sander (1907-1987), son of August Sander (1876-1964), and gradually added essential pieces, was acquired by the SK Stiftung Kultur in 1993. The acquisition of the August Sander Archive proved to be particularly progressive, as it enabled one of the first institutions in Germany to focus on photography.

August Sander: Gunther und Gerhard Sander, Kuchhausen, 1944. © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Gerd Sander accompanied the institutional and programmatic work, which, in accordance with the factual documentary and artistic-conceptual photography with exhibitions and publications, is based in particular on the work of August Sander, as chairman of the advisory board of the Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur until 2008. Various touring exhibitions and publications on the work of August Sander were made possible through his collaboration. A groundbreaking project from 1994 onwards was "August Sander: In Photography there are no unexplained shadows!" with a publication and an international exhibition tour. Influential in 2000 was the extensive exhibition "Contemporaries. August Sander and the Art Scene of the 1920s in the Rhineland" at the Josef Haubrich Art Gallery in Cologne. Last but not least, the seven-volume edition of "Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts" (People of the 20th Century) with an accompanying study volume (2001) on the work of August Sander, published together with Susanne Lange and Gabriele Conrath-Scholl, is of great importance.

Gerd Sander, who trained as a photographer and later worked as a gallery owner and art dealer, has also built essential bridges to artistic works exhibited at the local foundation. These include works by Marcel Broodthears, William Christenberry and Rosalind Solomon. With his work, Gerd Sander laid one of the important foundations for the fact that his grandfather's oeuvre is today reappraised according to scientific museum criteria, contextualised from various perspectives and continues to be presented to the world public.


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