Lot 5
  • 5

Cindy Sherman

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 USD
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  • Cindy Sherman
  • Untitled Film Still #48
  • signed and dated 1979 on the reverse
  • gelatin silver print
  • 16 x 20 in. 40.6 x 50.8 cm.
  • Executed in 1979, this work is number three from an edition of three.


The Artist
Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist)
Christie's, New York, May 26, 1999, Lot 7
Acquired by the present owner from the above


Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Cindy Sherman, February - March 1980 (edition no. unkown)
Bonn, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Lichtbildnisse: The Portrait in Photography, 1982, p. 679, illustrated (edition no. unknown) 
London, Institute of Contemporary Art; Liverpool, Bluecoat Gallery, Urban Kisses/Slum Kisses, 1982 - 1983 (edition no. unknown)
Stony Brook, Fine Art Center Gallery, State University of New York, Cindy Sherman, October - November 1983 (edition no. unknown)
Akron, Akron Art Museum; Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute; Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center; Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art; New York, The Broida Museum, Cindy Sherman, June 1984 - Fall 1986, p. 20 (edition no. unknown)
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Self-Portrait, the photographer's persona, 1840-1985, November 1985 - January 1986 (edition no. unknown)
Basel, Kunsthalle Basel; Munich, Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst; London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Cindy Sherman, March - September 1991, p. 24, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Open Ends, September 2000 - March 2001 (edition no. unknown)
Greenwich, Bruce Museum, Cindy Sherman: Works from Friends of the Bruce Museum, January - April 2011 (the present example)


Iwona Blazwick, "Urban Kisses," The Literary Review, Special Issue, 1982, p. 24, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Eight Artists: The Anxious Edge, 1982, cat. no. 1, p. 41, illustrated (another print)
Exh. Cat., Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum (and travelling), Cindy Sherman, 1982, cat. no. 30, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum, New Figuration in America, 1982, p. 119, checklist (another print)
Gerald Marzorati, "Imitation of Life," Artnews, No. 7, September 1983, p. 84, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Tokyo, Laforet Museum Harajuku, Cindy Sherman, 1984, p. 21, illustrated (another print) 
Peter Schjeldahl and I. Michael Danoff, Cindy Sherman, New York, 1984, pl. 30, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, Cindy Sherman, 1986, checklist (another print)
Exh. Cat., London, National Portrait Gallery (and travelling), Staging the Self: Self-Portrait Photography 1840s-1980s, 1986, n.p., illustrated (another example)
Exh. Cat., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cindy Sherman, 1987, cat. no. 30, n.p., illustrated (another print)
Sandy Nairne, State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980s, London, 1987, pl. 101, p. 132, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Els Barents and Peter Schjeldahl, Cindy Sherman, Munich, 1987, pl. 30, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown) 
Cindy Sherman, CS: Cindy Sherman, Tokyo, 1987, pp. 16-17, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Milan, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea di Milano, Cindy Sherman, 1990, p. 28, illustrated (another print)
Arthur C. Danto, Cindy Sherman: Untitled Film Stills, New York, 1990, pl. 33, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown) 
Exh. Cat., London, Saatchi Collection, Cindy Sherman, Richard Artschwager, Richard Wilson, 1991, pl. 78, illustrated (another example)
David Friend, The Meaning of Life: Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We Are Here, New York, 1991, p. 83, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Elfriede Jelinek, "Sidelines," Parkett no. 20, Vol. 29, Zurich, 1991, p. 83, illustrated (another print)
Exh. Cat., Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Exploring the Unknown Self: Self-Portraits of Contemporary Women, 1991, cat. no. 1, p. 21, illustrated (another print)
Rosalind Krauss, Cindy Sherman: 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 12-13 and 222, illustrated (edition no. unknown) and illustrated on the cover (edition no. unknown) (detail)
Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, Recent Acquisitions: Photography, 1993, pamphlet (text) (another print)
P. de Laboulaye and J. de Ponton d'Amécount, Contemporary Photography-Group Lhoist Collection, Belgium, 1995, p. 137, illustrated (another print)
Exh. Cat., Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Directions: Cindy Sherman - Film Stills, 1995, p. 48, illustrated and illustrated on exhibition brochure (another print)
Exh. Cat., Hamburg, Deichtorhallen (and travelling), Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work, 1975-1995, 1995, pl. 33, illustrated (another print)
Exh. Cat., Shiga, Museum of Modern Art (and travelling), Cindy Sherman, 1996, cat. no. 27, p. 78, illustrated (another print)
Allison Adato, "Camera at Work," Life Magazine, May 1996, pp. 120-121, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (and travelling), Cindy Sherman, 1996, cat. no. 23, n.p., illustrated (another print)
Julie L. Belcove, "The Sherman Act," W Magazine, June 1997, pp. 190-191, illustrated (edition no. unknown) and pp. 189 and 192 (text)
Herbert Muschamp, "Knowing Looks," Artforum, Summer 1997, p. 111, illustrated (edition no. unknown)
Exh. Cat., Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art (and travelling), Cindy Sherman Retrospective, 1997, pl. 47, p. 83, illustrated (another print)
Barry Schwabsky, "Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills," On Paper, November - December 1997, n.p., illustrated (another print)
Catherine Morris, The Essential Cindy Sherman, New York, 1999, p. 47, illustrated (another print)
David Frankel, ed., Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York, 2003, p. 157, illustrated (another print)
Groupe Lhoist, Limelette: Contemporary Photographs, Group Lhoist Collection, Belgium, 2004, p. 420, illustrated (another print)
Exh. Cat., Paris, Jeu de Paume (and travelling), Cindy Sherman, 2006, pp. 62 and 244, illustrated (another print)
Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art (and travelling), Cindy Sherman, 2012, pl. 62, p. 114, illustrated (another print)


This photograph is in excellent condition. Under close observation, there are two faint arcing creases, one located 1-2 ½" from the bottom edge and 5 ½-7" in from the right edge, and another located 1 ¼-2" from the top and 9 ¼ - 10" in from the right. Evidence of scattered light rubbing is apparent in the white margins outside the edges of the print due to contact with the matte. The print is framed in a wood shadow box frame painted white under Plexiglas.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Arguably the most important and iconic photographic work in Contemporary Art, Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #48 stands at the formally and conceptually stirring apogee of Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, the most widely revered articulation of the artist’s signature vernacular. Most often referred to as ‘The Hitchhiker,’ the present example is one of the most complex and recognizable examples from the entire series of 69 distinct vignettes that catalyzed Sherman’s meteoric career, testified to by the illustrious exhibition and publication history of the work. Larger in size and superior in rarity to Sherman’s 8 x 10 prints, the present work is an incomparable exemplar of the monumentally vital series. Curator Eva Respini proclaimed that the Untitled Film Stills are “arguably one of the most significant bodies of work made in the twentieth century and thoroughly canonized by art historians, curators, and critics.” (Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, 2012, p. 18)

When John Waters asked Sherman why of the entire set of Untitled Film Stills, #48 stood out as one of the most epochal, Sherman replied, “maybe what’s so 'iconic' is that you don’t even see the girl’s face. She’s got her back to the camera, so its like anybody can imagine who she is.” (the artist cited in Ibid., p. 71) Broadcasting a voyeuristic unease and profound existential malaise, Sherman’s protagonist stands with her back toward us, staring into the receding distance with enigmatic foreboding. The camera is positioned in such a way that the viewer is located away from the narrative, rather than in the frame, heightening the ominous intensity of the image. Negating our gaze while opening up a radical, thrilling potentiality, the present work situates the viewer as both voyeur and protagonist—the simultaneous subject and object of the gaze. Suspenseful, portentous, and starkly elegant, the ambiguity of Sherman’s image allows for a plasticity of interpretation: “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 a tryst).” (the artist cited in Ibid., p. 9)

Untitled Film Still #48 was shot while Sherman was on vacation with her parents in Arizona in 1979, a trip during which she took many of her most important stills; Sherman described the time as a series of drives through the landscape, stopping when she saw a vista that attracted her. Sherman set up her camera one evening at sunset on the pastoral highway in Arizona and had her father hold up a flash while the camera’s shutter was open for a few moments to capture this enduring image. As Sherman wrote, “Out there I wanted to be farther 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.” (the artist cited in David Frankel, ed., Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York, 2003, p. 14)

Adopting a variety of guises in a litany of cinematic tableaux culled from the vocabulary of Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Douglas Sirk, the series of Untitled Film Stills marks the inception of Sherman’s career-long investigation into the mass media’s proliferation of gender-bound stereotypes, unraveling the constructions inherent in the artifice of image-making. Sherman embodies the multifaceted role of actress, director, wardrobe assistant, set designer, and cameraman, fashioning every aspect of her ingénue’s appearance. The body of work as a whole depicted a range of female personae in various states of solitude, distress, contemplation, empowerment, and sexual provocation. Of these stills, #48 has gained the most notoriety for its stirringly and immediately riveting image. Employing the archetypal characteristics of a film production still—the scene that appears as though it is frozen from a larger narrative, but is in fact meticulously composed for the purposes of publicity—Sherman revels in the conceptual complexity of the form. We are lured into a compelling drama and seduced into providing our own reading of the scene, yet by its very nature we concomitantly understand its inherent fiction.