August Sander

Master Mason, 1926 (1926)

About this artwork

‘Master Mason’ is the first image of the portfolio ‘The Mastercraftsman’, the first portfolio of the group ‘The Skilled Tradesman’, in August Sander’s major photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander conceived of his ambitious project, to record a representative typology of the German people, categorised by their estate, profession and surroundings, in the 1920’s. This portfolio concentrates on the representation of the traditional crafts, setting its subjects within their working context and surrounded by the tools of their trade. Here, the mason leans casually on the masonry tower to his left, his left leg extended diagonally into the room. The freshly assembled stacks both stabilise his contrapposto pose and frame him.

see media
  • title: Master Mason, 1926
  • accession number: AL00032
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1926
  • measurements: 25.90 x 18.90 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.