View full screen - View 1 of Lot 10. CINDY SHERMAN | UNTITLED FILM STILL #81.


Lot Closed

April 3, 04:07 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 USD

Lot Details



B. 1954


large-format, flush-mounted, signed, dated and editioned '3/3' in ink on the reverse, framed, a signed Metro Pictures label on the reverse, 1980

36 by 25¼ in. (91.4 by 64.1 cm.)

Metro Pictures, New York

Sandroni.Rey, Los Angeles, circa 2001

Rosalind Krauss, Cindy Sherman: 1975-1993 (New York, 1993), p. 226

Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2003), p. 125

Julie Rouart, ed., Cindy Sherman (Paris: Jeu de Paume, 2006), pp. 54, 245

Eva Respini, Cindy Sherman (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2012), p. 94

Cindy Sherman’s ground-breaking series Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980) comprises 70 images of the artist dressed in various female guises. These black-and-white photographs—Sherman’s most well-known and celebrated body of work—solidified her artistic practice of using her own body as the main element in the expanding repertoire of portraits that she continues to make. The provocative moment captured in each Untitled Film Still suggests a rich story, but Sherman never fills in the heroine’s circumstances. Instead, each viewer must imagine the details for him or herself. Likewise, Sherman did not title the Film Stills so that they retain their ambiguity and open-endedness.

‘Some of the photographs are meant to be a solitary woman and some are meant to allude to another person outside the frame,’ Sherman has noted (The Complete Untitled Film Stills, p. 8). Untitled Film Still #81 seesaws between these two scenarios. Is the raven-haired woman in a lacy slip observing herself in the vanity mirror, or is someone watching this coquettish performance from the room beyond the bathroom door? Is she getting ready to go to sleep (in this case, her slip becomes a nightgown), or is she preparing for a rendezvous with her lover? The compressed space of the hallway and bathroom highlight the lithe lines of her body. The reflection of her face, framed by her own arm and hair, creates a complex composition that challenges us to make spatial sense of the compact environment.

Complete sets of the 8-by-10-inch Untitled Film Stills are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York. The large-format Untitled Film Stills, such as the present photograph, were printed in a limited edition of 3. At the time of this writing, it is believed that no other large-format print of Untitled Film Still #81 has appeared at auction.