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The Philosopher
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2015

Reference URL

The Philosopher 1913

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
August Sander’s ambition to create a photographic documentation of all ‘types’ of German people resulted in the collection ‘The People of the 20th Century’. The series began with photographs of rural farmers in the Westerwald region, in a group he called ‘The Farmer’. Sander did not include his subjects’ names, instead he used succinct titles to introduce them as representatives of a specific group. He systematically approached each subject with the same simple and straightforward style, occasionally including items of their trade or objects that alluded to social status or class. This image combines the traditional format of a knee-length seated portrait with the outdoor environment denoted by a softly focused landscape. Evenly lit and richly detailed, the subject seems to be turning towards the camera. Dressed formally and carefully groomed, the subject’s large weathered hands hold a pipe, and, with his face, are the focal points of the image.


  • Acc. No. AL00003
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 25.80 x 19.00 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm; frame: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010