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Gypsies, about 1930
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2015

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Gypsies, about 1930 about 1930

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
August Sander took a systematic approach in compiling his ambitious documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’, which was based on a quasi-sociological analysis of modern Germany. He divided his photographs into seven groups representing the social divisions and classes of the day: ‘The Farmer’, ‘The Skilled Tradesman’, ‘The Woman’, ‘Classes and Professions’, ‘The Artists,’ ‘The City’ and ‘The Last People’. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Travelling People – Gypsies and Transients’, which depicts people living on the fringes of urban life within the group, ‘The City’. It shows two gypsies photographed in a studio in front of a neutral white background. Countering prejudiced perceptions of gypsies as uncultured and wild, the two men are portrayed in a manner that expresses a sense of elegance and sophistication. Although their jackets are somewhat crumpled and their hair unfashionably long and tousled, the gypsies evoke exotic artistic bohemianism rather than social down-and-outs.


  • Acc. No. AL00155
  • Medium Black and white photograph on paper
  • Size 26.00 x 17.80 cm (paper 43.90 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