Francesca Woodman - Photographs New York Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • Literature

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Francesca Woodman, p. 96

  • 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 who drew inspiration from sources as varied as Surrealism, Conceptualism, and Post-Minimalism.

    In 1977, at just 19 years old, Woodman travelled to Rome to attend a semester abroad with Rhode Island School of Design. While there, she was inspired by the history of art and culture that surrounded her and created some of her most indelible images, including the one offered here. Wearing the polka dot dress seen in many of her works, she photographed herself alongside a towering statue. With the characteristic blurred effect evident in her hands thrust behind her, she appears to be ascending; her feet hover above ground. As evident in her best work, Woodman is neither here nor there; inhabiting a space somewhere between the physical and metaphysical.

    This early print shows a tighter crop than other prints of this image in which the statue’s sphere and head are in fuller view.

  • 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 (Rome)

Gelatin silver print.
5 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (14.6 x 14.6 cm)
Annotated 'Rome June 77 -- July 78' in an unidentified hand in pencil on the verso.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1225


Vanessa Hallett
Deputy Chairwoman, Americas and Worldwide Head of Photographs
+1 212 940 1243


New York Auction 7 October 2021