August Sander

Vagrants, 1929 (1929)

About this artwork

From the 1920s until the end of his life August Sander photographed individuals and groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and social positions in a monumental project known as ‘People of the 20th Century’. One social group that Sander documented in this way were what he identified as ‘Travelling People’. He distinguished between two types of travelling people: Circus People whom he associated with the leisure activities of city-dwellers, and ‘Gypsies and Transients’ who represent people living on the fringes of urban life. This double portrait is from the latter portfolio. While their battered shoes, walking sticks and knapsacks testify to their migratory life, and their unshaven chins suggest poverty or a lack of a stable routine, their spirits in no way appear diminished by the discomfort of being always on the road.

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  • title: Vagrants, 1929
  • accession number: AL00100
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1929
  • measurements: 25.90 x 20.00 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.