Studien - Der Mensch [Hands of a Tenor, about 1928]
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2014

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Studien - Der Mensch [Hands of a Tenor, about 1928] c 1928
  • Artist Rooms
The photographic series was a method that was central to Sander’s form of social documentary. In his photo-books, pictures of individuals and groups of people were presented not as isolated images but as elements in a series. Sander’s intention was to reveal the general physiognomic characteristics of a particular social class or professional type by juxtaposing a large number of images of their representatives. This photograph is from a book of hand studies that Sander compiled in 1944. His choice of focusing on a study of hands indicates his belief that they may reveal a great deal about the social status or trade of a person. With its long, narrow fingers, its well-manicured nails and its sensitive gesture recalling a figure in an old master painting, the delicate hand shown in this photograph evokes artistic expression, an impression that is confirmed by its identifying title, ‘Hand of a Tenor’.


  • Acc. No. AL00174
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 20.60 x 15.50 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