August Sander

Bailiff, c.1930 (about 1930)

About this artwork

August Sander took this photograph for a portfolio that he humorously titled ‘People Who Came to My Door’, from the group ‘The City’. The portfolio derives from Sander’s monumental photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’, with which he aimed to document the social structures and professional classes of his time. Side-by-side with portraits of vendors and beggars also included in ‘People Who Came to My Door’, this picture of a bailiff provides an ironic commentary on Sander’s own precarious financial situation as a professional photographer and artist in the 1920s and 1930s. In a note written to accompany the image, held at the August Sander Archive in Cologne, Sander explains that he requested permission to photograph him after the bailiff had fixed a seal to his door. The man’s wide-legged stance and self-satisfied half-smile exude confidence and assertion, suggesting that the bailiff takes pleasure in his profession.

see media
  • title: Bailiff, c.1930
  • accession number: AL00108
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: about 1930
  • measurements: 25.80 x 14.70 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.