August Sander

Turkish Mousetrap Salesman, 1924-30 (1924 - 1930)

About this artwork

August Sander took a methodological approach in his monumental documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’. He classified his photographs into seven groups and multiple sub-groups, reflecting the social structures and developments of his time. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Travelling People – Gypsies and Transients’, representing people living on the fringes of urban life within the sixth group, ‘The City’. It presents an example of Sander’s social realist style of photography, through which he aimed to turn the viewer’s eye towards such concerns as poverty and social injustice and, as in this case, the issue of migration. The title of the picture indicates its subject’s Turkish origin and lowly occupation, while his blemished facial features and disillusioned expression evoke a life of hardship and suffering.

see media
  • title: Turkish Mousetrap Salesman, 1924-30
  • accession number: AL00154
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1924 - 1930
  • measurements: 26.00 x 19.10 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.