The subject of this portrait, the composer Paul Hindemith (1895–1963), is one of the most significant representatives of twentieth-century avant-garde music. After the debut performance of a selection of Hindemith’s compositions at the first ‘Donaueschinger Festival’ in 1921, he was widely celebrated as Europe’s leading modern musician. Yet, despite his musical success, this photograph from the mid-1920s portrays Hindemith in an uncompromisingly down-to-earth fashion. The composer’s crumpled shirt, creased suit and the hint of stubble on his chin evoke a creative genius preoccupied more by his work than his appearance. The photograph belongs to the portfolio ‘The Composer’ group entitled ‘The Artists’ within August Sander’s documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Its modest simplicity suggests that Sander assigned to prominent figures the same standing as less celebrated representatives of the arts.