The forty large-scale portraits by the German photography pioneer August Sander, currently on view at Hauser & Wirth’s smaller uptown outpost, are a brilliant time warp into an era before the commodification of images and the narcissistic self-presentation of our selfie-culture. In the early 1920s Sander embarked on his monumental, and now iconic, lifelong project “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts” (People of the Twentieth Century) aiming to document German citizens according to social class and occupation. Sander’s inclusion of non-Aryans and other marginal groups of people eventually led to a run-in with the Nazi regime who confiscated and destroyed the first version and all plates of his book “Antlitz der Zeit” (Faces of our Time). Nevertheless, Sanders persevered. Some 1,800 negatives survived and proved hugely influential for countless later photographers including Diane Arbus, Walker Adams or Bernd und Hilla Becher. The show’s best images are part of a series of portraits of simple farm workers from his native Westerwald, one of the first group of people who came in front of his unflinching lens. Sander’s enduring gift was to coax the individual character and humanity out of each subject within the strict confinements and settings of a larger group but with the encouragement of presenting themselves as their ideal self. The result is an earnest attempt in objectivity, sympathy and humanity. At Hauser & Wirth through June 17.