Overview

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Cindy Sherman (b. 1954)
Cindy Sherman (b. 1954)

Untitled Film Still #48

Details
Cindy Sherman (b. 1954)
Untitled Film Still #48
signed, numbered and dated 'Cindy Sherman 1979 1/3' (on the reverse)
gelatin silver print mounted on board
30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm.)
Executed in 1979. This work is number one from an edition of three.
Provenance
Metro Pictures, New York
Skarstedt Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
I. Blazwick, "Urban Kisses," The Literary Review, 1982, p. 24 (another example of a different size illustrated).
G. Marzorati, "Imitation of Life," ARTnews, September 1983, p. 84 (another example of a different size illustrated).
I. Takano and L. Simmons, Cindy Sherman, Tokyo, 1987, pp. 16-17 (another example of a different size illustrated).
S. Nairne, G. Dunlop and J. Wyver, State of the Art; Ideas and Images in the 1980s, New York, 1987, p. 132, pl. 101 (another example of a different size illustrated).
H. Smacula, Currents: Contemporary Directions in the Visual Arts, New York, 1989, p. 211 (another example of a different size illustrated).
C. Danto, Cindy Sherman: Untitled Film Stills, New York, 1990, no. 33 (another example of a different size illustrated).
D. Friend, The Meaning of Life: Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We Are Here, New York, 1991, p. 155 (another example of a different size illustrated).
E. Jelinek, "Sidelines," Parkett No. 29, 1991, p. 83 (another example of a different size illustrated).
R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman: 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 12-13, 222 and 226 (another example of a different size illustrated and on the cover).
P. de Laboulaye and J. de Ponton d'Armécount, Contemporary Photography-Group Lhoist Collection, Belgium, 1995, p. 137 (another example of a different size illustrated).
A. Adato, "Camera At Work," Life Magazine, May 1996, p. 120-121 (another example of a different size illustrated).
C. Vogel, "Pop Art Wins Another 15 Minutes," New York Times, 20 November 1996, p. C21.
Una selección de las colecciones de la Eli Broad Family Foundation, exh. cat., Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, 1997, pp. 9-10 (another example of a different size illustrated).
J. Belcove, "The Sherman Act," W Magazine, June 1997, pp. 189-190 (another example of a different size illustrated).
H. Muschamp, "Knowing Looks," Artforum, summer 1997, p. 111 (another example of a different size illustrated).
B. Schwabsky, "Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills," On Paper, November/December 1997 (another example of a different size illustrated).
C. Morris, The Essential Cindy Sherman, New York, 1999, p. 47 (another example of a different size illustrated).
D. Frankel, ed., Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York, 2003, pp. 156-157 (another example of a different size illustrated).
K. Johnson, Are You Experienced?: How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art, New York, 2011, p. 189.
S.P. Hanson, "Artist Dossier: Cindy Sherman," Art+Auction, February 2012.
Exhibited
Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Cindy Sherman, February-March 1980 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Eight Artists: The Anxious Edge, April-June 1982, p. 41 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Bonn, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Lichtbildnisse: The Portrait in Photography, 1982 (another example of a different size exhibited).
London, Institute of Contemporary Art and Liverpool, Bluecoat Gallery, Urban Kisses/Slum Kisses, October 1982-Winter 1983 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; Ghent, Gewad; Bristol, Watershed Gallery; Southampton, Jack Hansard Gallery; Erlangen, Palais Stutterheim; West Berlin, Haus Am Waldsee; Geneva, Centre d'Art Contemporain; Copenhagen, Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad Foundation and Humlebæk, Louisiana Museum, Cindy Sherman, December 1982-April 1984, no. 30 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Milwaukee Art Museum, New Figuration in America, December 1982-January 1983 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Stony Brook, Fine Art Center Gallery, Cindy Sherman, October-November 1983 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Akron Art Museum; Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Des Moines Art Center; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art and Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, June 1984-April 1988, pl. 30 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, Cindy Sherman, January-March 1986 (another example of a different size exhibited).
London, National Portrait Gallery; Plymouth Arts Center; Southampton, John Hansard Gallery and Birmingham, Ikon Gallery, Staging the Self: Self Portrait Photography 1840s-1980s, November 1986-January 1987, pp. 77 and 126 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art and Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art; Cindy Sherman, July-October 1987, p. 17, pl. 30 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, A Forest of Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation, May-August 1989 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Milan, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Cindy Sherman, October-November 1990, pp. 28 and 91 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Kunsthalle Basel; Munich, Staatsgalerie Moderne Kunst and London, Whitechapel Gallery, Cindy Sherman, March-September 1991, p. 24 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
London, Saatchi Collection, Cindy Sherman, Richard Artschwager, Richard Wilson, January-July 1991, pl. 78 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Exploring the Unknown Self: Self Portrait of Contemporary Women, June-August 1991, p. 21, pl. 1 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Recent Acquisitions: Photography, February-April 1993 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum, Directions: Cindy Sherman-Film Stills, March-June 1995, n.p., pl. 48 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Mälmo, Kunsthall and Lucern, Kunstmuseum, Cindy Sherman: Photoarbeiten 1975-1996, May 1995-February 1996, pl. 33 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen; Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Bilbao, Sala de Exposiciones REKALDE and Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Cindy Sherman, March 1996-March 1997, p. 16, no. 23 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Shiga, Museum of Modern Art; Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cindy Sherman, July-December 1996, p. 78, pl. 27 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman: The Complete Film Stills, June-September 1997 (another example of a different size exhibited).
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum; London, Barbican Art Gallery and Bordeaux, Musée d'art contemporain, Cindy Sherman Retrospective, November 1997-April 1999, p. 83, pl. 47 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Paris, Jeu de Paume; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Humlebæk, Louisiana Museum and Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Cindy Sherman, May 2006-September 2007, p. 316 (another example of a different size illustrated).
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pictures Generation: 1974-1984, April-August 2009, pp. 134 and 327, pl. 86, no. 197 (another example of a different size illustrated and exhibited).
Greenwich, The Brant Foundation, Remembering Henry's Show, May 2009-January 2010, n.p. (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Haunch of Venison, Your history is not our history, March-May 2010, p. 63 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Greenwich, Bruce Museum, Cindy Sherman: Works from Friends of the Bruce Museum, January-April 2011, p. 36 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).
Potomac, Glenstone Foundation, No Substitute, April 2011-January 2013, p. 123 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center and Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, February 2012-June 2013, pp. 21, 60, 71, 114 and 242, pl. 62 (another example of a different size exhibited and illustrated).

Brought to you by

Sara Friedlander
Sara Friedlander

Lot Essay

A fair haired woman stands on the side of a road, small suitcase nearby, hands clasped behind her back, waiting. Dusk appears to be falling, or maybe dawn is breaking—the time of day is ambiguous. The scene is shrouded in mystery—who is this woman? Where is she going? Where is she coming from? The question of who or what she is running from follows her as the viewer’s gaze trails the woman into the distance. The wide camera angle captures the solitary figure in a vast western landscape. The fill-flash further heightens the aloneness of the figure dwarfed by her natural surroundings. As with each of the other photographs included in Untitled Film Stills series the viewer plays a voyeuristic role glimpsing the protagonist at an unguarded moment. Although Sherman stands alone in the frame, we are there as her character waits to hitch a ride to an unknown fate. Perhaps the most successful image from the series, Untitled Film Still #48 stands apart in that Sherman’s back is turned to the camera. This compositional choice elevates the level of mystery. The figure’s face is completely blocked from view, concealing any emotions opening the scene to a myriad of interpretations.

Conceived by Cindy Sherman between 1978 and 1980, shortly after graduation from Buffalo State College, the Untitled Film Stills were initially inspired by publicity film stills—photographs taken on movie sets during production and subsequently produced for publicity and promotion. Sherman’s aim was to create something that wasn’t considered high art, but rather gave the impression of a souvenir to be bought for a quarter at the corner store. The first few scenes were meticulously staged and shot in her apartment, but it wasn’t long before she took to the streets of New York for further inspiration. Together with her then boyfriend Robert Longo, she would cruise the streets with her costumes, wigs and make-up selecting locales where she could stage the next scenario. With consummate finesse and utmost intelligence, Sherman employs cinematic compositional tools–lighting, cropping, framing, camera angle—as well as bodily conventions—clothing, gestures, and poses. The use of this vocabulary conjures a feeling of suspense as we perpetually find ourselves at some single point along the continuum of a narrative that never has a clear beginning or end. “Some of the women in the outdoor shots could be alone, or being watched or followed—the shots I would choose were always the ones in-between the action. These women are on their way to wherever the action is (or to their doom)… or have just come from a confrontation (or tryst)” (C. Sherman, “The Making of Untitled,” in The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York, 2004, p. 9).

Although Sherman was not referring to specific characters in specific films, there is an undeniable common thread which links the images in this series. Critic Arthur Danto has gone so far as to identify this pervasive theme as “The Girl in Trouble.” He states, “The stills are dense with suspense and danger and they all look as if they were directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The invariant subject is The Girl in Trouble, even if The Girl herself does not always know it. The girl is always alone, waiting, worried, watchful, but she is wary of, waiting for, worries about, and her very posture and expression phenomenologically imply The Other: the Stalker, the Saver, the Evil and Good who struggle for her possession. …The Girl is an allegory for something deeper and darker, in the mythic unconscious of everyone regardless of sex. For The Girl is the contemporary realization of the Fair Princess in the Far Tower, the red-clad child in the wolf-haunted woods, the witch-sought Innocent lost in trackless forest, Dorothy and Snow-White and The Littlest Rebel in a universe of scary things. Each of the stills is about The Girl in Trouble, but in the aggregate they touch the myth we each carry out of childhood, of danger, love, and security that defines the human condition” (A. Danto, quoted in Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills, New York, 1990, pp. 13-14).

Photographed in 1979 during one of Sherman’s family vacations to Arizona, Untitled #48 – which Sherman herself has dubbed “The Hitchhiker” – and its West Coast counterparts are often characterized as slightly softer and with a more muted contrast than those shot in Manhattan. For the 1979 stills, the landscape would become an essential part of the composition. Inspired by the this, Sherman recalled “Out there I wanted to be further away from the camera; I didn’t want to compete with the landscape I liked being smaller in the picture and having the scenery take over” (C. Sherman, Cindy Sherman The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York, 2003, p. 14).

Sherman admits that it wasn’t her intent to produce such a drama focused body of work, rather the theme emerged naturally. She states, “I’m not sure if I was yet aware of the fact that in most early films, women who don’t follow the accepted order of marriage and family, who are strong, rebellious characters, are either killed off in the script or see the light and become tamed, joining a nunnery or something. Usually they die. I think I must have been unconsciously drawn to those types of characters” (C. Sherman, ‘The making of Untitled’, in The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York 2003, p. 9).

Held in major private and museum collections internationally, Cindy Sherman’s photographs have intrigued, disturbed, affirmed and questioned; underscoring the artifices and performance of everyday life. Untitled Film Still #48 represents the artist at the beginning of her enormously influential and celebrated career undertaking an exploration of contemporary female identity in series after series of eloquent photographic masterpieces.

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

View All
View All