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© J. Paul Getty Trust

August Sander
German, Bonn, 1929
Gelatin silver print
8 11/16 x 6 in.

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Ingeborg vom Rath, a sculptor, leans forward as if she were attentively listening to someone outside the photograph's frame. Her vacant expression, however, suggests that she is engaged in thought or daydreaming.

August Sander began acquainting himself with Cologne's art circle in the early 1920s, and he photographed many painters, sculptors, and architects. Many of his artist portraits contain samples of the subject's work; this example is rather unusual in that it does not include any of vom Rath's sculpture. Believing that an individual's face "portrayed not just the person's inner character, but also his trade, economic experience, and social position," Sander probably felt that he could convey vom Rath's identity as an artist without representing her work. She appears to have been an assertive woman, and the prominent position of her hands-the tools of her trade- strongly hint at her occupation.