August Sander - The painter Heinrich Hoerle
The painter Heinrich Hoerle
Gelatin silver print, printed before 1953. 28.8 x 21.8 cm. Photographer's blind stamp lower right. Bordered in black ink. Mounted to original card, titled in an unknown hand in pencil lower right on the mount. Paper laber, thereon typewritten inscribed "August Sander: 'Köln wie es war'". - Print and original card with traces of usage..
Within the context of his work on 'Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts' [People of the 20th Century], the group V 'Die Künstler' [The artists] and, as a part of this, the folder 33 'Der Maler' [The Painter], occupies a prominent position for August Sander. His personal attachment to many representatives of this group is expressed herein. It is the monumentality of the ascetic appearance and the compelling gaze which make the portrait of the artist Heinrich Hoerle (ASA #/33/3) so outstanding. “The caustic-ironic, rather egocentric aspect of his personality is disclosed as the other half of his character by the light that shines on one part of his face.” (Arta Valstar-Verhoff, in: Zeitgenossen, ibid., p. 131)
The fact that Sander hung a large print of this portrait in the study of his Cologne home, together with a print of Seiwert's portrait, shows how much personal importance he attached to it. Heinrich Hoerle was an important representative and also a colourful character of the art scene of 1920s Cologne. Beside his own artistic work, he committed himself to the artist group 'Cologne Progressives' as their spokesman and publisher. Between 1929 and 1932, he published the monthly magazine 'a bis z', the mouthpiece of the group of progressive artists in which August Sander was the only photographer of repeated mention. Hoerle revered August Sander's oeuvre and strove to propagate his publications. In 1925, he wrote to Sander: “I am thrilled by your photographs! And you will be amazed at the possibilities of reproduction in magazines in which I will insist on the declaration of the signature: photo sander! [..] I will bring about your fame!“ (cf. Anne Ganteführer-Trier, in: Zeitgenossen, ibid., p. 60)
Looking back on his childhood, Gerd Sander recalls conversations with his grandfather about the times before 1933: ”the painters and sculptors seiwert, hoerle, adler, freundlich, schmitz, ronig were repeatedly mentioned as well as the politician görlinger, the writer mathar, and l.f. gruber, edward steichen and many others. all these people played an important role in the lives of anna and august sander and their families." (Gerd Sander, in: Zeitgenossen, ibid., p. 211)
It is the above-mentioned Robert Görlinger (1888-1954) to whom Sander gave the Hoerle portrait as part of a portfolio on his 65th Birthday in 1953. At that time, the SPD politician was the Lord Mayor of Cologne. The portfolio entitled 'Köln wie es war' [Cologne as it was] comprised a compilation of Cologne-views and motifs from the milieu of the art scene of the late twenties to which Görlinger was obviously just as close as Sander. Heinrich Hoerle appears in the large portrait shown here and also in two further shots which can be construed as a reference to the mutual artist friend.
The donation expressed Sander's gratitude and his special bond as Robert Görlinger was not just a friend but a dedicated fellow campaigner for the issues of photography: in 1951, together with L. Fritz Gruber, he was the founder and first chairman elect of 'Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie' (DGPh) [German photography society]. In the following year, Görlinger interceded with the city of Cologne to buy Sander's large-scale portfolio 'Köln wie es war' [Cologne as it was]comprising 407 prints, split into 16 portfolios - against considerable resistance from the city council as the purchase price of 25,000 DM seemed overpriced to many council members. The purchase took place a year later in 1953. The donation of the personally compiled selection portfolio of the same name made to Görlinger in that year undoubtedly refers to his role as a negotiator.
Following Görlinger's sudden death in 1954, Sander wrote to the former KPD politician Rosi Wolfstein-Fröhlich: “Last year, I lost a very dear friend, Robert Görlinger, whom I very much miss in every respect. I have worked with him a lot and much was yet to be achieved but that's life.” (DOK-1955-1/REWE-Bibliothek, in: Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Cologne)
“A small selection of my works that depict the beauty and life of the city of Cologne as it was before its destruction. The dreadful ruins are the consequences of wicked politics that brought us misery and ruin and must be an inexorable admonition to contemporaries and progeny” (Dedication from August Sander to Robert Görlinger, cover sheet of the portfolio 'Köln wie es war', dated 29th July 1953).
From the photographer to Robert Görlinger; private property, Germany
Gunther Sander, August Sander. Menschen ohne Maske. Photographien 1906-1952, Munich 1971, ill. 135 (variant); Beaumont Newhall (ed.), Photographs of an epoch 1904-1959 by August Sander, exhib.cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Millerton 1980, ill. p. 29; Coke van Deren, Avantgarde-Fotografie in Deutschland 1919-1939, Munich 1982, ill. on the cover; Gerd Sander (ed.), August Sander. "In der Photographie gibt es keine ungeklärten Schatten!", exhib.cat. Staatliches Puschkin Museum, Moskau et al. Berlin 1994, ill. p. 139; Gunther Sander (ed.), August Sander. Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Portraitphotographien 1892-1952, Munich 1994, plate 323 (variant); Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Köln (ed.), Zeitgenossen. August Sander und die Kunstszene der 20er Jahre im Rheinland, exhib.cat. Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Köln et al., Göttingen 2000, ill. p. 128; Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Köln (ed.), August Sander. Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts, Bd. V. Die Künstler, Munich 2002, ill. p. 117 (variant)