Francesca Woodman - Photographs Evening & Day New York Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired from Jo Tartt, Washington D.C., to the present Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    Phaidon, Francesca Woodman, p. 218
    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Francesca Woodman, p. 108 and cat. 127
    Scalo, Francesca Woodman Photography, p. 38, variant
    University Penn Press, Francesa Woodman Photographic Work, No. 12, variant

  • Catalogue Essay

    Francesca Woodman’s photographs have been studied and celebrated for their critical dialogue with the history of art, examination of the body in relation to the space occupied and the complexities of self-portraiture. While her life and career were short, her distinct body of work reveals her quick and impressive evolution as a photographer with varying influences from Surrealism to Conceptualism and Post-minimalism.

    In the series of photographs taken in New Hampshire in 1980 from which the current lot is a part, Woodman photographs herself in a towering forest of trees, her wrists and forearms wrapped in bark to mimic her surroundings. Her body figuratively becomes one with the world around her. While photographing outdoors was not novel for Woodman- images taken in her early teens show her interest in exploring the relationship between her body and nature- much of her work is characterized by interior self-portraits. In these photographs, Woodman positions herself at the center of the frame; her flesh grounding the images and serving as the canvas on which her narratives unfold.

    But here, in contrast, we see Woodman visually and metaphorically receding into the periphery, her body pulled to the lower half of the frame, nearly vanishing among her natural surroundings. In her introductory essay to the Guggenheim exhibition catalogue for Francesca Woodman, Corey Keller remarks “history is by necessity written backward; its narrative takes shape with an ending already firmly in place.” Indeed, it is with a keen awareness of Woodman’s untimely death just one year after this photograph was taken, that the image takes on even greater importance, a visual precursor to the transition that she would choose for herself in just a short time.

    A variant of this image, as well as a contact sheet print with this image, were both included in the Guggenheim retrospective in 2012.

  • Artist Biography

    Francesca Woodman

    American • 1958 - 1981

    During her brief 22 years, Francesca Woodman created an extraordinary body of work, exploring gender, selfhood and the body in relation to its surroundings. Woodman often experimented with a slow shutter speed, which slightly blurred and distorted her body as it moved throughout the exposure, creating a haunting, almost ghost-like effect. Her ethereal presence draws our attention to traditional depictions of the body, forms of portraiture and self-portraiture, illuminating the desire for self-preservation against the passing of time. 

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Untitled (MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire)

Gelatin silver print.
4 x 4 in. (10.2 x 10.2 cm)

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $37,500

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Photographs Evening & Day

New York 5 & 6 October 2016