Enlarge 1 / 1


United States of America born 1954

Untitled # 50 1979 Description: woman sitting in lounge room
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph Edition: [4/10]

Primary Insc: Signed and dated, reverse c., blue ballpoint pen, "Cindy Sherman... 1979". Edition number, reverse c., blue ballpoint pen "...40...".
Dimensions: printed image 16.4 h x 24.0 w cm sheet 30.4 h x 35.4 w cm Frame 43.2 h x 58.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1983
Accession No: NGA 83.1499

In 1977 Cindy Sherman began photographing herself as she performed a wide range of staged personas for the camera. The images grew into a series of 69 images that has become one of the most notable achievements in recent art. The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired a set of the complete series in 1995. Inspired by movies and by a childhood spent glued to the television, Sherman, wearing a wide array of wigs and make-up, is variously the demure librarian, the bored housewife, the starlet, the ingénue, the office worker, the femme fatale. Fragments of a nonexistent whole they are mysterious, impenetrable images.

Sherman has written that she wanted the fictional film to which she refers 'seem obscure and European'. In her research of movie stills in books, she was drawn to stars such as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, and particularly to images in which the actor was almost expressionless. Of this image Sherman says: 'besides working in my studio and on these planned outdoor shoots, whenever I was travelling I would turn it into a work trip, buying cosmetics and wigs at the local thrift stores and bringing my camera and tripod with me. In 1979 I went to visit my friend Nancy Dwyer in Los Angeles for a week or two when she was house-sitting a fantastic house that had an amazing art collection. I took #50 there'.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra