Cindy Sherman - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Sunday, November 8, 2015 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Directions: Cindy Sherman - Film Stills, March 15 - June 25, 1995 (another example exhibited)
    Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Cindy Sherman, March 10 - May 19, 1996, then traveled to Madrid, Palacio de Velzques, Parque del Retiro Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (July 8 - September 22, 1996), Bilbao, Sala de Exposiciones REKALDE (October 15 - December 1, 1996), Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (January 1 - March 23, 1997) (another example exhibited)
    Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, November 2, 1997 - February 1, 1998, then traveled to Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art (February 21 - May 31, 1998), Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum (June 25 - August 23, 1998), London, Barbican Art Gallery (September 10 - December 13, 1998), Bordeaux, CAPC Musée d'art Contemporain de Bordeaux (February 6 - April 25, 1999), Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art (June 4 - August 29, 1999), Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario (October 1, 1999 - January 2, 2000) (another example exhibited)
    Paris, Jeu de Paume, Cindy Sherman, May 16 - September 3, 2006, then traveled to Bregenz, Kunsthaus Bregenz (November 25, 2006 - January 14, 2007), Humlebæk, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (February 9 - May 13, 2007), Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau (June 15 - September 10, 2007) (another example exhibited)
    New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, 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 (November 10, 2012 - February 17, 2013), Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art (March 17 - June 9, 2013) (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman: 1975-1993, Rizzoli: New York, 1993, pp. 56, 225 (illustrated)
    Directions: Cindy Sherman - Film Stills, exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 1995, n.p. (illustrated)
    Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Museum Boijmans Van Bueningen, Rotterdam, 1996, pp. 17, 46 (illustrated)
    Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Tokyo, 1996, pp. 16, 35 (illustrated)
    Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, exh. cat., The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1997, p. 77 pl. 36 (illustrated)
    D. Frankel (ed.), The Complete Untitled Film Stills: Cindy Sherman, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2003, pp. 90-91, 159 (illustrated)
    J. Rouart (ed.), Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2006, pp. 54, 243 (illustrated)
    J. Burton (ed.), "Cindy Sherman," The October Files, MIT Press: Cambridge, 2006, pp. 111-113, 136, 221, no. 30 (illustrated)
    E. Respini (ed.), Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, p. 99, pl. 24 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I really don’t think that they [Film Stills] are about me. It’s maybe about me not wanting to be me and wanting to be all these other characters. Or at least try them on.” Cindy Sherman

    Cindy Sherman’s iconic black and white film stills created between 1977 and 1980 host a myriad of women—while Sherman herself may be the model, she emphatically de-categorizes this body of works as self-portraits. She aims to be a blank canvas upon which her female guises are rendered, as movie stars out of an Alfred Hitchcock film with Gregory Peck just a few steps out of the frame. A film still without a film, her photographs leave the characters without a plot; as she once elaborated, “They’re sort of blank. It makes the viewer come up with the narrative.” (Cindy Sherman in “How I Made It: Cindy Sherman on Her 'Untitled Film Stills,’” New York Magazine, April 7, 2008)

    The present lot, Untitled Film Still (#36) glimpses a dark haired woman undressing, gently peeling away an almost translucent article of clothing. The glowing light from the background creates a sensual, slim silhouette, suggesting the figure as changing behind a curtain, shielded from the bright lights of a movie set. The simple composition emits a glow of tactility in the skin of her arms and the thin soft veil of a curtain. Untitled Film Still (#36) captures a distinctly private yet visually pleasing moment of intimacy. Sherman describes how she is “vulnerable by being this other character,” and through exposing us to these previously inaccessible femme fatales, she taps into the American obsession with peeking behind-the-scenes of famous characters only captured on the big screen or spotted on Fifth Avenue.

    The Film Stills were conceived in 1977, as the artist has explained, “When I moved to New York, in the summer of ’77, I was trying to think of a new way to take pictures and tell a story. “(Cindy Sherman in “How I Made It: Cindy Sherman on Her 'Untitled Film Stills,’” New York Magazine, April 7, 2008) While trying to develop a story, Sherman additionally explores her own identity by wearing a mask, trying various outfits, lipsticks and personalities, exploiting her uncanny ability to be a “chameleon”, which she has described as troublesome in her personal relationships yet incredibly useful in her creative body of works. She describes her Film Stills “like I wasn’t wearing my normal armor. I was vulnerable by being this other character. We’re all products of what we want to project to the world. Even people who don’t spend any time, or think they don’t, on preparing themselves for the world out there—I think that ultimately they have for their whole lives groomed themselves to be a certain way, to present a face to the world.” Untitled Film Still (#36) disarms us of the shield that protects us from the world and replaces it with a holistic sense of humanity, displacing the necessity to be outwardly perfect with the acceptance to feel eternally human.

  • 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.

    View More Works

Property from an Important Midwest Collection


Untitled Film Still (#36)

gelatin silver print, mounted on foamcore
37 3/4 x 27 3/4 in. (95.9 x 70.5 cm)
Signed, numbered and dated "Cindy Sherman 2/3 1979" on the reverse of the backing board; further numbered "#36" lower right of the mat.

$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for $701,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 November 2015 7pm