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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Image World: Property from a Private American Collection


signed, numbered and dated 'Cindy Sherman 7/10 1981' (on the reverse)
chromogenic print
24 x 48 in. (61 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1981. This work is number seven from an edition of ten plus two artist's proofs.
Metro Pictures, New York
Akron Art Museum, Ohio, 1981
Their benefit sale; Christie's, New York, 8 May 2012, lot 10
Skarstedt Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
J. Williamson, "Images of 'Woman'- the Photographs of Cindy Sherman," Screen, vol. 24, no. 6, November-December 1983, p. 109 (illustrated).
P. Schjeldahl, Cindy Sherman, New York, 1984, n.p., no. 60 (illustrated).
I. Takano, Cindy Sherman, Tokyo, 1987, pp. 36-37 (illustrated).
P. Schjeldahl, Cindy Sherman, Munich, 1987, no. 60 (illustrated).
Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Milan, Padilione d'Arte Contemporanea di Milano, 1990, p. 40 (illustrated).
R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman, 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 90-91 and 227 (illustrated).
G. DuMont and W. Dickhoff, eds., Cindy Sherman: Kunst Heute Nr. 14, Cologne, 1995, pp. 20-21 (illustrated).
Z. Felix and M. Schwander, Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work 1975-1995, Munich, 1995, n.p., no. 40 (illustrated).
J. Flam, et al., The Paine Webber Art Collection, New York, 1995, pp. 14-15 and 220-221 (another example from the edition illustrated).
R. Brooks, et al., Richard Prince, London, 2003, pp. 34 and 160 (illustrated).
J. Burton, ed., Cindy Sherman, Cambridge, 2006, p. 71, no. 20 (illustrated).
P. Moorehouse, Cindy Sherman, London, 2014, pp. 70-71 (illustrated).
C. Amend, "Die Fru mit den tausend Gesichtern," Zeit Magazin, no. 38, 17 September 2015, p. 20 (illustrated).
"Die maskierte Frau," Monopol Sonderheft Berlin Art Week, September 2015, n.p. (illustrated).
Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Munich, Sammlung Goetz, 2015, p. 45 (illustrated).
G. Allen, Cindy Sherman Centerfold (Untitled #96), New York, 2021, pp. 2-3 (illustrated on the back inside cover and detail views illustrated on the front and back covers).
New York, Metro Pictures, Cindy Sherman, November 1981.
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Eight Artists: The Anxious Edge, April-June 1982, p. 14 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Kassel, Documenta 7, June-September 1982, pp. 320 and 402 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; Ghent, Gewad; Bristol, Watershed Gallery; Highfield, University of Southampton, John Hansard Gallery; Erlangen, Palais Stutterheim; West Berlin, Haus am Waldsee; Geneva, Centre d'Art Contemporain; Copenhagen, Sonja Henie-Niels Onstadt Foundation and Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, December 1982-April 1984, n.p., no. 60 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Tokyo, Laforet Museum, Next Wave of American Women: Cindy Sherman, April-May 1984, n.p. (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Akron Art Museum, The Human Presence, November 1986-May 1987.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art and Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, July 1987-April 1988, n.p. and p. 18, no. 60 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Kunsthalle Basel; Munich, Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst and London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Cindy Sherman, March-September 1991, pp. 30 and 38 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Akron Art Museum, Focus on the Collection: A 70th Anniversary Celebration, November 1991-January 1992.
Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, January-March 1993, n.p. (illustrated).
Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Konsthall Malmö and Lucerne, Kunstmuseum, Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work, 1975-1995, May 1995-February 1996, no. 40 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Shiga, Museum of Modern Art; Muragame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cindy Sherman, July-December 1996, pp. 96-97 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Caracas, Fundación Museo de Bellas Artes, Cindy Sherman: Una selección de las colecciones de la Eli Broad Family Foundation, May-July 1997, pp. 26-27 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Akron Art Museum, 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Collection, September 1997-February 1998.
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum; London, Barbican Art Gallery; Ville de Bordeaux, CAPC Musée d'art Contemporain de Bordeaux; Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cindy Sherman Retrospective, November 1998-January 2000, pp. 42, 106-107 and 197, pl. 78 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated; detail view illustrated on the front cover).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Modern Contemporary: Art At MoMA Since 1980, September 2000-January 2001, pp. 46 and 541, no. 41 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Skarstedt Fine Art, Cindy Sherman Centerfolds 1981, May-June 2003, pp. 30-31 and 49, no. 35 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Paris, Jeu de Paume; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Cindy Sherman, May 2006-September 2007, pp. 98-99, 249 and 317 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Akron Art Museum, Haslinger Galleries, December 2007-August 2008.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984, April-August 2009, pp. 239 and 327, pl. 182 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Greenwich, Bruce Museum, Cindy Sherman: Works from Friends of the Bruce Museum, January-April 2011, pp. 12-13 (another example from the edition exhibited).
New York, Museum of Modern Art; San Franciso Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center and Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, February 2011-June 2013, pp. 136-137 and 243, pl. 90 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Cindy Sherman-Untitled Horrors, May 2013-September 2014, p. 66-67 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Mnuchin Gallery, Cindy Sherman: Once Upon a Time, 1981-2011, April-June 2017, p. 40-41 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Berlin, me Collectors Room, Cindy Sherman - Works from the Olbricht Collection, September 2015-August 2016 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Silkeborg, Museum Jorn, Cindy Sherman, September-December 2017, n.p. (another example from the edition exhibited).
Bremen, Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst, Cindy Sherman: Works from the Olbricht Collection, May 2018-February 2019 (another example from the edition exhibited).
London, National Portrait Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, Cindy Sherman, June 2019-August 2020, pp. 126-127 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Cindy Sherman, September 2020-January 2021, p. 93 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Special notice
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Brought to you by

Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Head of Department

Lot Essay

The pinnacle of her iconic Centerfolds series, Untitled ranks among Cindy Sherman’s most important works. Bathed in an evocative amber light, the enigmatic mise-en-scène that Sherman creates elicits an altogether hypnotic pull upon the viewer. Peering down upon the young protagonist, we enter a private world where the artist herself is transformed into an adolescent girl dressed in a gingham skirt and orange sweater. In this, and others from the Centerfolds series, Sherman’s work achieves a new level of maturity and finesse.

Widely regarded as one of her most significant bodies of work, the Centerfolds marked an important moment in Sherman’s career, sparking vociferous debate when they were first exhibited November of 1981. The curator Lisa Phillips has described them as “an astonishing tour-de-force,” and the art critic Peter Schjeldahl claimed, “[they] cracked my personal top-ten list of life-changing epiphanies” (L. Phillips, “Cindy Shermans Cindy Sherrmans,” exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, 1987, p. 14, and P. Schjeldahl, “Valley of the Dolls,” The New Yorker, June 7, 1999, p. 95).

Among her prodigious oeuvre, Untitled is one of her most recognizable images. Challenging assumptions about the veracity of photography, together with the male construction of the female narrative, it has graced the cover of numerous exhibition catalogues including the artist’s seminal 1997 retrospective originating at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, along with a 2007 monograph authored by Francesco Stocchi, and a stand-alone publication on the work published by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Untitled has also been included in every major traveling exhibition of Sherman’s work, going back to her first large-scale traveling museum show in 1984, at the Akron Art Museum (and which later traveled to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).

An early supporter of her work, the Akron Art Museum acquired the present work directly from the Centerfolds exhibit at Metro Pictures in November of 1981. At least three other examples from the edition are in the collections of major museums, including The Art Institute of Chicago (a gift of the Edlis Neeson Collection); The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

The twelve photographs of the Centerfolds series depict young women in personal, intimate terms. Often reclining, crouching, or lying on a bed or sofa, they elicit a melancholy or troubled mood. Some are staring off into space, some dreaming or longing, but left alone within their own private ruminations. In Untitled , we look down on a young girl, supine on the faux-brick linoleum floor. Wearing a hand-made gingham skirt and an orange sweater, she is the picture of troubled adolescence, clutching a torn wanted ad from the newspaper with the headline: “Single?”

Whereas her earlier Untitled Film Stills (1977-80) could be understood as a sort of pastiche of Hollywood films, Sherman’s Centerfolds are more introspective in tone, with the artist giving more and more agency to the heroines of each frame. In Untitled , the extreme close-up vantage point and the larger scale work in tandem with the colored filters, or gels, that cast the entire image in a dreamy amber light. “Sherman uses color to great expressive effect,” the curator Eva Respini explained, writing in Sherman’s 2012 retrospective catalogue for the Museum of Modern Art, “as in Untitled #96, where the warm glow of the orange sweater of the girl lying on the floor, clutching a lonely-hearts ad, contributes to her seemingly dreamy state” (E. Respini, Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, p. 31).

Sherman has explained her own interpretation of the story behind Untitled, in 1987, for the Akron Art Museum. She said, "I was thinking of a young girl who may have been cleaning the kitchen for her mother and who ripped something out of the newspaper, something asking 'Are you lonely?' or 'Do you want to be friends?' or 'Do you want to go on a vacation?' She's cleaning the floor, she rips this out and she's thinking about it,” she explained. (C. Sherman quoted in P. Schjeldahl, Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Akron Art Museum, 1987, p. 11).

"[...]the warm glow of the orange sweater of the girl lying on the floor, clutching a lonely-hearts ad, contributes to her seemingly dreamy state." Eva Respini

Some critics have been disturbed by what they perceived to be an ominous sense of uneasiness portrayed in the Centerfolds series. Like allusions to the Classical nude, although none of the images are overtly sexual or violent, they nevertheless provoked viewers into examining their own subconscious impulses and underlying assumptions when they looked at them.

This certainly is the case in Untitled , as certain elements begin to complicate our reading of the initial image. For instance, the girl's leg is bent backwards at an unnatural angle, showing a dirty white canvas shoe, and her orange skirt is flipped open along the edge. Certain other elements are at odds with the childish naiveté of her skirt and sweater set, including her vampish red nail polish and the crumpled newspaper ad. Herein lies Sherman’s seemingly effortless capacity to engage her viewers in these compelling images, as they often leave us with more questions than answers.

Coming of age in New York in the 1970s, Cindy Sherman developed associations with many of the artists who became known as the Pictures Generation, including Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, David Salle, Jack Goldstein and Sherrie Levine. In contrast to the unbridled optimism of the boomer generation, this new group of artists responded to the social and political upheaval of the ‘60s and and ‘70s. In the spectre of the Vietnam war, the Watergate scandal and the looming economic and political turmoil of that decade, these artists began to think critically about the information being transmitted and received. By looking closely at TV, magazines, movies and newspapers, they acknowledged that personal identity, in particular, was not innate, but rather constructed by an artificial set of social norms. Cindy Sherman’s Centerfolds, when considered alongside these visual and critical strategies, take on greater meaning and significance.

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