Acquired directly from the artist by the previous owner
By descent to the present owner
Peter Schjeldahl and Michael Danoff, Cindy Sherman, 1984, New York, pl. 17, illustrated
Arthur C. Danto, Untitled Film Still: Cindy Sherman, Munich, 1990/1998, pl. 16, illustrated
Rosalind Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 30-31, pl. 225, illustrated
Catherine Morris, The Essential: Cindy Sherman, New York, p. 43, illustrated
Gunilla Knape, ed., The Hasselblad Award, 1999, Cindy Sherman, 2000, Göteborg, p. 41, illustrated
Johanna Burton, Cindy Sherman: The October Files, Boston, 2006, p. 102, illustrated
Gabriele Schor, Cindy's Original Scene: Doll Clothes, Parkett, No. 78, 2006, p. 22, illustrated
Daniel Birnbaum, Cornelia H. Bulter and Suzanne Cotter, Definining Contemporary Art: 25 Years in 200 Pivotal Artworks, London, 2011, p.30, illustrated
Cindy Sherman's iconic Film Still #21 is perhaps the most profound image that grew out of the "second wave" of the feminist movement. In this image captured in 1978, the artist famously casts herself as the subject. In a single powerful frame, the image of a demure 1950's working girl migrates into the persona of a confident, confrontational, modern 1970's business woman. Her face is positioned slightly at an angle so one can see glimpses of the towering edifices behind her. The urban jungle as background is slightly blurred as if the subject has conquered the world behind her while she is continuing to forge ahead. Sherman, "cast" as professional woman, is dressed in a fashionable winged blouse under her suit jacket as if heading to her office. Her seductive, penetrating gaze looks off into the distance denying one the ability to distract her from her personal mission.
As Amanda Cruz has suggested, Sherman's Untitled Film Stills "relates to feminist performance work of the 1970s by artists such as Eleanor Anton and Adrian Piper, who Sherman has identified as early influences".  Sherman, much like her contemporaries, decided that she will serve as a muse but only because she has elected to do so and thus asserted herself in this role. She is not only the subject/lead actress but the director, producer and screenplay writer in this monumentally groundbreaking series.
The "second wave" of the feminist movement gained traction in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the writings and orations of women such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. The movement celebrated a woman's right to be equal with her male counterpart; to seize control over her own body and make both personal and professional choices regarding her future opportunities. These women as well as innumerable other influential figures would certainly have been familiar to Sherman. However intentionally or subconsciously, the artist channeled their mantras in her visual practice and particularly in this body of work. In the Untitled Film Stills the artist traces the female archetypal role in its rapidly evolving arc from the damsel in distress or fearful victim to a woman in control of her destiny. She is as powerful as the city behind her and will not be defeated.
 Cindy Sherman, A Retrospective, New York, p. 5
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