August Sander

Arbitrator, 1919 (1919)

About this artwork

The tightly-cropped portrait is the earliest photograph included in the portfolio entitled ‘The Judge and the Attorney’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ from August Sander’s ambitious project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Taken in 1919, it predates Sander’s decision to compile a typology of the German people, categorised by their estates, professions and living environments in the 1920s. It is one of many images documenting the Westerwald region, where Sander travelled throughout his life. The figure pictured here also appears with his family in the group ‘The Farmer’, exemplifying the relationships that Sander fostered with many of his subjects. The detail of the lines on the arbitrator’s skin add to the sense of wisdom and humanity that emanates fittingly from his friendly, smiling face.

see media
  • title: Arbitrator, 1919
  • accession number: AL00066
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1919
  • measurements: 25.80 x 18.80 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 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.