August SanderPainter's Wife [Helene Abelen] c. 1926, printed 1994

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Artwork details

August Sander (1876‑1964)
Painter's Wife [Helene Abelen]
Frau eines Malers [Helene Abelen]
Date c. 1926, printed 1994
MediumPhotograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensionsimage: 257 x 187 mm
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
On long term loan
Not on display


This photograph shows Helene Abelen, wife of the Cologne painter, Peter Abelen. During the 1920s August Sander befriended many Cologne artists because of his involvement with the Cologne Progressive Artists Group (Gruppe Progressiver Künstler Köln). In 1926 Sander was asked by Peter Abelen to create a portrait of his young wife. With her short, slicked-back hair, collared shirt, thin necktie and trousers, Frau Abelen is presented as a distinctly androgynous figure. Her masculine garb and haircut, as well as the cigarette held between her teeth, signal a defiance of traditional gender roles… (read more)

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