The Gewandhaus Quartet was founded in 1808 and is the oldest continuously active string quartet in the world. It forms part of the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. This portrait is one of more than five hundred photographs that together constitute August Sander’s monumental project ‘People of the 20th Century’, in which he aimed to document the social types and classes of his time through the medium of photography. The project is today considered an invaluable source of information on Germany’s social and cultural history during the interwar years. This photograph is from the portfolio ‘The Performing Musician’, classified in the project’s fifth group entitled ‘The Artists’. Unlike the carefully composed and highly stylised photographs of musicians traditionally found in concert programmes, this picture emanates an sense of realism and immediacy. Gathered in formal surroundings and dressed in white tie, the four men appear to be taking a short break from performing to pose for Sander’s camera.