The painters and sculptors that August Sander photographed for the portfolio ‘The Painter’ from the group entitled ‘The Artists’ within his documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’ were often friends and acquaintances who moved in the avant-garde circles of Cologne. Sander was particularly close to the artists’ collaborative known as the Cologne Progressives. This portrait shows the painter Gottfried Brockmann (1903–83) who was one of the members of the group. The painting that occupies the left half of the image is characteristic of the objective language of graphic realism developed by the painters of the Progressives. Most of the photographs that Sander took of artists comply with a more conventional portrait format: the subjects are shown standing or seated in three-quarter length before a neutral background. By contrast, this image appears to be set in Brockmann’s studio. The painter is presented beside his work, holding his paintbrushes to his body like a fan that spreads outwards to encounter the woman walking towards him on the canvas.