Sold for $170,500 at the Photographs sale, 4 April 2012, New York, achieving an auction record for the artist. This print is one of 2 known lifetime prints of this image.
Since her death in 1981, Francesca Woodman’s photographs have been studied and celebrated for their critical dialogue with the history of art, examination of the body in relation to the space occupied and the complexities of self-portraiture. While her life and career were short, her distinct body of work reveals her quick and impressive evolution as a photographer with varying influences from Surrealism to Conceptualism and Post-minimal art.
In Untitled, Rome, we see her figure as it hangs from a doorway, perhaps a metaphor for the transitional space between two states of being. That her face is turned and subsequently concealed by her arm speaks to the same notion of disappearance, a reading which is enhanced by our knowledge of her pending suicide.
In 2007, the prolific contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan created Untitled, 2007, a life-size sculpture based on this Woodman photograph. Since its initial showing at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria as a female figure dressed in a nightgown and hanging from a constructed doorway, Cattelan has completely re-imagined the work. After seeing the sculpture as it was being unpacked, Cattelan chose to display it differently from that point forward: the figure positioned facedown inside the shipping crate with arms restrained in shackles and completely removed from the context of the doorway. This new installation enhances the physical and emotional sense of confinement while also linking the theme of suicide prevalent throughout Cattelan’s work back to Woodman herself. While Woodman’s own work often engaged with classical art, it is clear that the dialogue she began continues.