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Untitled #470

2008
chromogenic color print, in artist's frame
image 85 1/4 x 58 in. (216.5 x 147.3 cm) frame 90 1/4 x 63 in. (229.2 x 160 cm)
Signed, numbered and dated "Cindy Sherman 3/6 2008" on the reverse. This work is number 3 from an edition of 6.
Another work from the edition is in the collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Estimate
$300,000 - 500,000 

sold for $389,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

  • Provenance

    Sprüth Magers, London
    Private Collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    New York, Metro Pictures, Cindy Sherman, November 15 - December 23, 2008 (another example exhibited)
    Berlin, Sprüth Magers Berlin, Cindy Sherman, February 18 - April 18, 2009 (another example exhibited)
    London, Sprüth Magers London, Cindy Sherman, April 16 - May 27, 2009 (another example exhibited)
    Rome, Gagosian Gallery, Cindy Sherman, June 7 - October 8, 2009 (another example exhibited)
    Munich, Museum Villa Stuck, Street Life and Home Stories: Fotografien aus der Sammlung Goetz, June 1 - September 11, 2011 (another example exhibited)
    Zurich, Kunsthaus Zurich, Riotous Baroque: From Cattelan to Zurbarán - Tributes of Precarious Vitality, June 1 – September 2, 2012 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman: A Retrospective, February 26 – June 11, 2012, then traveled to San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (July 14–October 7, 2012), Minneapolis, Walker Art Center and Dallas (November 10, 2012–February 17, 2013), Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art (March 17 – June 9, 2013) (another example exhibited)
    Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Cindy Sherman: Untitled Horrors, May 4 – September 22, 2013, then traveled to Stockholm, Moderna Museet (October 19, 2013 – January 19, 2014), Zürich, Kunsthaus Zurich (June 6 - September 14, 2014) (another example exhibited)
    Munich, Sammlung Goetz, Cindy Sherman, January 29 - July 18, 2015 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, 2009, n.p., cover (illustrated)
    Street Life and Home Stories: Fotografien aus der Sammlung Goetz, exh. cat., Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, 2011, p. 171 (illustrated)
    Riotous Baroque: From Cattelan to Zurbarán - Tributes of Precarious Vitality, exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, 2012, p. 167, p. 133 (illustrated)
    E. Respini, J. Burton, Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, pl. 167, p. 222 (illustrated)
    R. Smith, "Photography's Angel Provocateur: 'Cindy Sherman' at Museum of Modern Art," The New York Times, February 23, 2012, p. C25 (illustrated)
    E. Heartley, H. Posner, N. Princenthal and S. Scott, After the Revolution: Women Who Transformed Art, New York, 2013, p. 195 (illustrated)
    P. Moorhouse, Cindy Sherman, London: Phaidon, 2014, no. 113, p. 140 (illustrated)
    Cindy Sherman: Untitled Horrors, exh. cat., Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, 2014, p. 213 (illustrated)
    Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Sammlung Goetz, Munich, 2015, pp. 151, 156, 174 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I don't think I can see the world through other people's eyes, but I can capture an attitude or a look that makes others think I can.” Cindy Sherman, 2008

    From her 1970s Film Stills to these monumental portraits of society’s finest women, Cindy Sherman, the master of disguise, pursues a life-long exploration into the very nature of identity. This late series, known as the Society Portraits, depicts aging socialites, the wives of wealthy and powerful men, bedecked and adorned in their finest clothes and jewelry. They appear before faux royal backdrops, some against ascending Versailles-like staircases, others upon velvet cloaked settees. Roberta Smith describes the series as “stark, monumental society portraits of heavily made up, quietly desperate matrons of a certain age.” (R. Smith, “Photography’s Angel Provocateur: Cindy Sherman at Museum of Modern Art,” The New York Times, February 23, 2012). Donned in silk dresses, furs, and pearls, these women stand within luxurious spaces, their makeup heavily applied to hide their wrinkles; Sherman slyly comments on the inevitable signs of aging and the human impulse to disguise the ravages of time.

    Over the past three decades, Sherman has transformed herself into many characters, including the film star, the secretary, the housewife, the bohemian, and the Old Master portrait subject. Her photographs set a scene with each article of clothing or prop carefully selected as a clue to a story or to the social role that Sherman is assuming. The characters she chooses to inhabit are not at all self-reflective, as she explains, they are “everything but me. If it seems too close to me, it’s rejected.” (Cindy Sherman in C. Vogel, “Cindy Sherman Unmasked,” The New York Times, February 16, 2012)

    Even at a young age, Sherman’s interest remained grounded within the limitations of self-representation, as a means to investigate her own singularity while resolutely rejecting the typically “pretty” side of fashion and art. As she explains, “there are pictures of me dressed up as an old lady. I was more interested in being different from other little girls who would dress up as princesses or fairies or a pretty witch. I would be the ugly old witch or the monster.” This sustained pursuit to transform herself into the ugly witch or the vain and slightly grotesque subject is seen especially in the Society Portraits. The series subtly touches upon the underlying anxiety and tension that manifests itself within these women, who strive to maintain their illusive youthful perfection at any price. The present lot, Untitled #470, 2008 depicts a middle-aged brunette, dressed in a glaring red satin dress. Her three quarter stance conveys an air of aggression to the character, while her hardened gaze glares out at us. In her right hand she clutches a decorative fan, almost as a weapon of protection against her social competitors. She stands within a spectacular hallway reminiscent of a European palazzo; a decorative classical relief carving can be seen behind her left shoulder, with a Gothic window seen immediately behind her. The architectural elements of this lavish building only further highlights the unstoppable passing of time and the social pretensions of the portrait subject. Untitled #470, 2008 is enclosed in an antique, ornate frame, specified by Sherman. This adds another layer of aging and false opulence to the image and its physical character. Sherman explores the very nature of portraiture, while alluding to canonical oil portraits painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in the 16th century who was praised for his portraits’ “unsurpassed sureness” and “penetration into character.” Sherman has tapped into these same expectations of portraiture through the staged majesty of her imaginary likenesses. (E. Waterhouse, Painting in Britain, 1530–1790, London: Penguin, 1978, p. 17)

    The Society Portrait series, like Sherman’s 1981 Centerfolds series, places women on display who seem to betray a somewhat unstable psychological state. Her Centerfolds series captures a distraught woman upon a bed, gleaming with sweat, seemingly in the midst of a mental or emotional crisis. Some commentators have noted that the Society Portraits series coincides with the economic crisis of 2007-2008. The women depicted in the Society Portraits struggle to maintain their pride and sense of privilege in the wake of financial paralysis and its social consequences. Within the Centerfolds and Society Portraits, Sherman aims to provoke the viewer, to expose them to an image of vulnerability.

    The heroine of Untitled #470, 2008, shows deep creases and wrinkles which run along the frown lines of this hardened socialite. Her face has been coated in a thick layer of makeup, red blocks of rouge run across her cheekbones, reminiscent of war paint, as she is ready to fight her inevitable decline with power and grace. Sherman has the eerie ability to conjure up these characters and perfectly executes their facial expressions, stances, and gazes; she exposes the complexity of her characters, both accentuating and stripping away the societal stereotypes that they appear to embody. “You think you may know them,” explains Museum of Modern Art curator, Eva Respini. “But in fact the more you look at them, the more complex and darker they seem. The same could be said of Cindy. How can such a mild-mannered, nice woman have such a wicked imagination that keeps inventing these fantastical characters over and over again?” (Eva Respini in C. Vogel, “Cindy Sherman Unmasked,” The New York Times, February 16, 2012)

  • Artist Bio

    Cindy Sherman

    American • 1954

    Seminal to the Pictures Generation as well as contemporary photography and performance art, Cindy Sherman is a powerhouse art practitioner.  Wily and beguiling, Sherman's signature mode of art making involves transforming herself into a litany of characters, historical and fictional, that cross the lines of gender and culture. She startled contemporary art when, in 1977, she published a series of untitled film stills.

    Through mise-en-scène​ and movie-like make-up and costume, Sherman treats each photograph as a portrait, though never one of herself. She embodies her characters even if only for the image itself. Presenting subversion through mimicry, against tableaus of mass media and image-based messages of pop culture, Sherman takes on both art history and the art world.

    Though a shape-shifter, Sherman has become an art world celebrity in her own right. The subject of solo retrospectives across the world, including a blockbuster showing at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a frequent exhibitor at the Venice Biennale among other biennials, Sherman holds an inextricable place in contemporary art history.

    View More Works

8

Untitled #470

2008
chromogenic color print, in artist's frame
image 85 1/4 x 58 in. (216.5 x 147.3 cm) frame 90 1/4 x 63 in. (229.2 x 160 cm)
Signed, numbered and dated "Cindy Sherman 3/6 2008" on the reverse. This work is number 3 from an edition of 6.
Another work from the edition is in the collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Estimate
$300,000 - 500,000 

sold for $389,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 14 May 2015 7pm

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