The composition of ‘Working-class Mother’ echoes the religious iconography of the Madonna and child. The portrait comes from the portfolio ‘The Worker – His Life and Work’ in August Sander’s ambitious photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander conceived the project, to construct a typology of the German people organised by estate, profession and living environment in the 1920s, dividing the project into seven groups and over 45 portfolios following these categories. Standing in a doorway, her silhouette emphasised by the dark interior behind her and the door’s wooden frame, the working-class mother is dressed in her everyday clothes. She holds up her baby, displaying its chubby bare legs to the photographer with a friendly smile. Sander highlights the class of his subject through the title and the setting, which is in stark contrast to more middle-class portraits such as ‘Mother and Daughter’ (around 1926), included in the group ‘The Woman’.