Never-before-seen work by the photographer Francesca Woodman, a highly influential artist who died by suicide in 1981 at the young age of 22, will go on display for the first time at the Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel. Photo by Francesca Woodman/Woodman Family Foundation/Artists Rights Society
June 8 (UPI) -- Never-before-seen work by the photographer Francesca Woodman, a highly influential artist who died by suicide in 1981 at the young age of 22, will go on display for the first time at the Gagosian's booth at Art Basel.
The famed gallery announced Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with the Woodman Family Foundation to represent her work. Woodman's work was previously represented by Marian Goodman and Victoria Miro.
The Gagosian will display two of her unseen images along with a third previously seen photograph, serving as an example of her body of work, at Art Basel this month. The gallery is also planning an exhibition dedicated to her work expected to be shown in New York next spring.
Woodman has become highly revered for her black-and-white photographs -- mostly self-portraits, many of which feature her nude -- in a time before social media. Her images are deeply personal and often use long exposure to blur motion. Interpretations of her body of work have ranged from whimsy to macabre.
She was born to two artist parents, Betty and George Woodman, but quickly eclipsed their fame as she emerged in an era of feminism and post-minimalism.
"Her oeuvre was animated by exceptional creativity and abiding interests in mythology, literature, and Gothic and Victorian aesthetics," the Gagosian said in its news release.
"She was also fascinated by the Surrealists and later artists who had extended their inquiries and subversions in both Europe and the United States."
Like the Surrealists before her, Woodman often included mirrors and other objects in her images for symbolic effect and also showed a certain interest in "fetishism," as once described by The New York Times in a review of a posthumous show of her work-- such as a close-up of her naked body with clothespins attached to her breasts and stomach.
Despite her emergence at a time artists were using women's bodies to make feminist statements, Woodman did not seem concerned with the movement in general. As noted by The New York Times, her work is not erotic or voyeuristic. Instead, her images are deeply emotional.
Perhaps her biggest legacy will be her penchant for working serially, producing images that are related to each other and meant to be viewed together. Eight photo books Woodman made before her death will be published this month.
Woodman was born and raised in Denver and Boulder in Colorado. At 13, she began taking nature photographs and went on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, which she attended from 1975 to 1978.
She moved to New York City in 1979 to begin her career in photography. In late 1980, Woodman is believed to have become depressed over her work and a failed romance. She died in January 1981.
Woodman's parents took charge of their daughter's work after her death and are largely responsible for her posthumous success, leaving the family's foundation with a trove of prints and negatives.
George Woodman died in 2017 and was followed by Betty Woodman in 2018.