August Sander

Blacksmith, about 1930 (about 1930)

About this artwork

August Sander divided his photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’ into seven groups and more than 45 portfolios. ‘Blacksmith’ is included in the portfolio ‘The Mastercraftsman’, classified in the second group ‘The Skilled Tradesman’. Here Sander explored traditional trades by photographing representatives within their working environment. This portrait is a formal study of a blacksmith in his workplace: hammer in hand, he leans on the anvil in front of the furnace with his left fist planted on his hip, gazing squarely into the camera lens. This photograph exemplifies Sander’s exemplary technical skill, its dark but richly textured background providing a dramatic backdrop for the blacksmith’s leather apron and pale striped shirt, the light picking out the detailed definition of the masonry pedestal and arch.

see media
  • title: Blacksmith, about 1930
  • accession number: AL00031
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: about 1930
  • measurements: 25.80 x 19.90 cm (paper 44.00 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.