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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York

  • Literature

    A. C. Danto, “Cindy Sherman History Portraits”, Munich / Paris, 1991, n.p., (illustrated); R. Krauss and N. Bryson, “Cindy Sherman 1975-1993”, New York, 1993, p. 228 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “For most of her remarkable career, Cindy Sherman has been the face of Postmodernism, known for photographs in which she flaunts one assumed identity after another. She is among the most influential and productive members of the photo-appropriation artists who emerged in the early 1980s, and she is certainly the most famous. Since Ms. Sherman started dressing up for her camera in the mid-70s, her lead has been followed ad infinitum.”                                                                                                                                                                                                          (R. Smith, “The Ever-Shifting Selves of Cindy Sherman, Girlish Vamp to Clown, The New York Times, May 28, 2004).
    Cindy Sherman continued her groundbreaking work exploring the possibilities of occupying both sides of the camera with commencement of her History Portraits – a series executed beginning in 1988 while the artist resided in Rome.The artist took on the persona of a Renaissance portrait sitter, in full period costume appearing as a living oil painting. The present lot confronts and comments on the possibilities of presentation and representation within art. Evidenced by a prosthetic nose is a clear play on the idea of “the real” as applicable to photography. This image is ripe with layers of art theory - the sitter as object for the viewer, while the artist and the sitter are actually the same person.
    One of her most accomplished compositions; the present lot enshrines in a stunning and powerful image Sherman’s ability to translate the subject from its classical composition into her own reconfigured genre of photography – i.e. the ‘History Portrait’. It is through Sherman’s unique understanding of the nature of photography and its ability to capture the ideas of re-presentation that makes her a protagonist in her field and a vital contributor to the discourse on contemporary photography.

  • Artist Biography

    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.

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Untitled #212


Color photograph in artist’s wooden frame.

41 ¼ x 32 ¼ in. (104.8 x 81.9 cm).
Signed and dated “Cindy Sherman 1989” and numbered of six on the reverse.  This work is from an edition of six.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contemporary Art Part I

13 Nov 2008, 7pm
New York