Cindy Sherman, ‘Untitled #400’, 2000, Sotheby's

From Generation to Generation: Important Photographs from the Ames Collection

Flush-mounted, signed, dated, and editioned '6/6' in ink on the reverse, framed, Metro Pictures and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art labels on the reverse.

From the Catalogue:
In her series Headshots (also known as Hollywood/Hamptons Types), the photographer returned to self-portraits after nearly a decade of working with dolls and other props as stand-ins for her own body. Turning the camera once more on herself, Sherman embodies characters who are, in her words, ‘would-be or has-been actors (in reality secretaries, housewives, or gardeners) posing for headshots to get an acting job’ (Cindy Sherman, quoted in 'No Make-Up. An Interview with Cindy Sherman, by Isabelle Graw,' Cindy Sherman: Clowns, Munich, 2012, p. 58). Here, Sherman again takes aim at popular notions of femininity, celebrity, and Hollywood stereotypes, a subject that she famously explored in her acclaimed Untitled Film Stills (1977-80).

The composition Sherman adopted for this series was simple: set against a uniform, single-color background, she framed the arrangement in a manner reminiscent of an ID or senior prom picture. The make-up is overdone to the point of being grotesque, costumes are ostentatious, and her exaggerated expressions fall into the realm of caricature. In Untitled #400, Sherman’s purple formal dress and glittery make-up hint at aspirations to recapture youth and glamour. Likewise, in Untitled #353 (Lot 45), Sherman’s garish make-up and silicone breast implants represent a universal Hollywood cliché. These depictions of individuals striving for out-of-reach youth and social status are poignant, uncomfortable, and humorous all at once.

A print of this image is in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. At the time of this writing, no other print of this image is believed to have been offered at auction.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's

New York, Metro Pictures, Cindy Sherman, November 2000 - January 2001
London, Serpentine Gallery, Cindy Sherman, June - August 2002
Edinburgh, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, December 2003 - March 2004
Ithaca, Cornell University, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Twice-told Tales: Photographs and Their Stories from Alumni Collections, April - July 2005

Eva Respini, Cindy Sherman (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2012), p. 149
Cindy Sherman (Paris: Jeu de Paume, 2006), pp. 206 and 267
Paul Moorhouse, Cindy Sherman (London, 2014), p. 129

Metro Pictures, New York, 2000

About Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman established her reputation—and a novel brand of uncanny self-portraiture—with her “Untitled Film Stills” (1977-80), a series of 69 photographs of the artist herself enacting female clichés of 20th-century pop culture. Though her work continually re-examines women’s roles in history and contemporary society, Sherman resists the notion that her photographs have an explicit narrative or message, leaving them untitled and largely open to interpretation. “I didn’t think of what I was doing as political,” she once said. “To me it was a way to make the best out of what I liked to do privately, which was to dress up.” Always in meticulous costumes, wigs, and makeup, Sherman has produced series in which she dresses as women from history paintings, fashion, and pornography. In the late 1980s and into the ’90s, she expanded her focus to more grotesque imagery, like the mutilated mannequins of her “Sex Pictures” (1992).

American, b. 1954, Glen Ridge, New Jersey, based in New York, New York