|August Sander, Pastry Cook (1928)|
Saturday, June 21, 2014
On August Sander: Dyer v. Lane
Round as a bun, topped with a head like a shining cherry, the master of his craft stands firm and square on the tiles of his kitchen, one hand clasping the inch-thick handle of a spoon or whisk, the other curled around the handle of a large mixing bowl, whose curves are a perfect match for the swell of his paunch. There is not an ounce of mockery in the mixture, and the pastry-maker himself would consider the portrait fair, perhaps ennobling, yet the picture is lightly, irrefutably spiced with a pinch of the comic. In that balancing of the aesthetic scales, Sander has no equal.
That noticing of the way the mixing bowl’s curves match the swell of the pastry cook’s paunch is brilliant!
Like Lane, Dyer feels “the all-consuming psychological pull” of Sander’s portraits, “their immense and draining gravity.” But unlike him, instead of being drawn into the photos, he “craves escape” from them - “escape from the density of faces and clothes – of people.”
I admire Dyer for the honesty of his response. But of the two approaches, I prefer Lane’s. Sander’s pictures are dense with details. Lane helps me see them.