signed and dated in pencil on the reverse, 1977-78, printed in 1980
5⅝ by 5⅝ in. (14.3 by 14.3 cm.)
This early print, on double-weight paper with a surface sheen, is in generally excellent condition. Upon very close examination the margin edges are faintly yellowed. The upper margin edge is gently rippled in two areas corresponding to linen hinge remnants on the reverse. '8' is written in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Acquired by the present owner, friend of the photographer, circa 1980
Variant images (image reversed):
Francesca Woodman (Paris: Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, 1998), p. 113
Chris Townsend, Francesca Woodman (London and New York, 2006), p. 154
Marco Pierini, ed., Francesca Woodman (Siena: SMS Contemporanea, 2009), p. 32
Corey Keller, Francesca Woodman (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2011), pp. 69 and 211
Gabriele Schor and Elizabeth Bronfen, eds., Francesca Woodman: Works from the Sammlung Verbund (Cologne, 2014), p. 57
“What happened is that I played the piano for a long time. The pieces I played most were themes on variations, Scarlatti, etc. This occurs in my imagery.”
Hervé Chandès, ed., Francesca Woodman (Zurich, 1998), p. 16.
The present photograph, taken while Woodman was studying abroad in Rome in 1977-78, features a very recognizable wall also seen in the image used to advertise Immagini: Francesca Woodman, her exhibition in March 1978 that was held in the basement of Libreria Maldoror, a bookstore that specialized in Futurist and Surrealist books. For each of the exhibition invitations, Woodman affixed individual contact prints that show her lying on her back beside the same two-toned wall, her distinctive pattered dress hanging above.
Woodman utilized the same working method as she had in Providence, wherein she returned to a few select locations with limited props and clothing. These spaces, including an abandoned pasta factory and the basement under RISD’s Palazzo Cenci building, became the setting for numerous thematic variations, and are thus instantly recognizable as being from the same period. Many images taken in Rome feature her blurred figure as she crawls, writhes, and jumps in eerie surroundings, often suggesting supernatural activity. In this assertive self-portrait, however, Woodman stands utterly still, looking directly into the camera and giving the impression of stasis. She appears chameleon-like, the soiled lower half of her body blending with the darker bottom half of the decaying wall. The present image is a rare reversal of the composition, which is frequently reproduced so that Woodman’s arm is extended to the right rather than to the left.