August Sander

Commercial Traveller, 1930 (1930)

About this artwork

‘The Small-Town Dweller’ is a portfolio in the group ‘The Farmer’, one of seven groups of August Sander’s documentation of different ‘types’ of German people, ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander organised the work of over 500 images according to the living environment, estate and profession of the subjects and in this portfolio sought to represent the familial and social experiences of the farmer. This portfolio marks a move away from the rural starting point in the ‘Portfolio of Archetypes’, towards the urban population of Germany’s towns and cities. The photographs in the portfolio often include narrative elements reflect daily life in small communities. The ‘Commercial Traveller’ leans casually on his stick, the street receding behind him, one foot out, as if ready to resume his walk. Sander’s ambition to compile representations of social and professional experiences is achieved here in the omission of name and location of the photograph.

see media
  • title: Commercial Traveller, 1930
  • accession number: AL00026
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1930
  • measurements: 25.90 x 19.00 cm (paper 43.90 x 34.00 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • copyright: © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

August Sander

August Sander

Considered one of the finest photographers of the twentieth century, Sander's bold style of portrait photography, as well as his typological approach, has had an enormous influence on modern photography. During his apprenticeship in several German studios and his time in his own studio in Austria, he developed his individual style. Then in 1910 Sander moved to Cologne and produced his first large group of photographs, which he later included in his concept "People of the 20th Century". This was created in the mid-1920s and compiled up until the 1950s. He photographed groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society.