Cindy Sherman - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | Phillips

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  • In 2016, Cindy Sherman debuted her first body of work since her 2012 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. Inspired by Hollywood stars of the 1920s, the series saw Sherman embody the persona of 20 seemingly past-their-prime actresses captured in publicity-like photos. Each posed in front of a decadent background perfectly suiting their elaborate makeup and garb, the photographs are less about the glamour of the Golden Age of film and more about those left in the shadow when the spotlight of fame shifts its focus.

    In her introductory text for a book on the series, Betsy Berne comments, "[Sherman] admits that by the time things were really cooking in the studio the thought did occur to her that of all her old work, what the new work reminded her of most was the Untitled Film Stills."Indeed, it is hard not to make the connection with Sherman’s most acclaimed series, given the cinematic influence of both. But if the Film Stills were centered on narrative and female archetypes, this work is about the actresses behind those archetypes or, more accurately, the actresses no longer cast in those roles. Age is the undercurrent that runs throughout the series and, like all of Sherman’s best work, is what ties the images to a deeper cultural discourse.

    Untitled #580 is the third image in the exhibition catalogue and perhaps the most traditionally alluring, in the Hollywood sense. Red lips; sequined and fur jacket; leather (or are they satin?) fingerless gloves revealing a French manicure; cigarette holder: all the hallmarks of leading ladies in the early 20th Century. But she is no longer that leading lady; the one we see on screen, and, despite the accessories, cannot make herself such. Her era in the spotlight is long gone but her spirit and confidence remain and it is those attributes that Sherman captures so masterfully. The series is not a mockery of has-beens; Berne notes there is “no irony, no caricature here.” Instead, the image is a bold confrontation with an era, an industry, a culture that has pushed her aside and the subject, through Sherman’s eyes, is not looking away.

    • Provenance

      Sprüth Magers, Berlin

    • Literature

      Hartmann Books, Cindy Sherman 2016, pl. 3
      Rizzoli, Cindy Sherman, p. 228

    • 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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Property from a Distinguished New York Collection


Untitled #580

Dye sublimation metal print.
42 1/2 x 35 in. (108 x 88.9 cm)
Overall 44 1/2 x 37 1/4 in. (113 x 94.6 cm)

Signed, dated and numbered 6/6 in ink on a gallery label affixed to the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$250,000 - 350,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 6 April 2022