Studien - Der Mensch [Hands of a Painter (Jankel Adler) 1925]
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2015

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Studien - Der Mensch [Hands of a Painter (Jankel Adler) 1925] 1925
  • Artist Rooms
August Sander’s photographs illustrate the alliance of photography with modern sociology in the early twentieth century. At a time when sociology was constructing universal social ‘types’ by analysing social data, the technical means of photography promised the visual representation of such types in series of carefully classified images. By juxtaposing large numbers of photographs of people and faces, it was believed that the typical characteristics of a certain social or professional class could be revealed. This photograph is from a series of hand studies that Sander compiled in 1944. The studies are enlargements of details from pictures taken mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. This is a detail of a portrait of the painter Jankel Adler from 1924, entitled ‘Painter [Jankel Adler]’. Adler’s long fingernails and the ornamental ring he is wearing suggest that these are the hands of a bohemian, rather than somebody who lives by manual labour.


  • Acc. No. AL00175
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 15.20 x 22.90 cm (paper 44.00 x 33.90 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010