Francesca Woodman:
Portrait of a Reputation

September 20, 2019–April 5, 2020


Francesca Woodman: Portrait of a Reputation presented an early episode in the artistic life of American artist Francesca Woodman (1958-81). Featuring over 40 unique, vintage prints, as well as notes, letters, postcards, and other ephemera related to the artist’s burgeoning career, this exhibition detailed Woodman’s creative coming-of-age primarily during the years 1975-79. Introducing this material for the first time, the exhibition was drawn from the personal collection of George Lange, a long-time friend and classmate of Woodman’s at Rhode Island School of Design.

This exhibition detailed how the artist came into her creative voice and her singular approach to photography at a notably young age. It demonstrates Woodman’s virtuosity in formation—the creative impulses that yielded a distinctive voice, and also a more nuanced understanding of the context in which she worked and which is featured so prominently in her photographs from this time. Ranging from portraits in her studio/apartment in college to self-portraits in the bucolic Colorado landscape in which she was raised, these works capture Woodman’s hallmark approach to art-making: enigmatic, rigorous, and poignant, all at once. The exhibition also included select photographs of Woodman made by George Lange during this period. Taken together, Francesca Woodman: Portrait of a Reputation offered a nuanced and in-depth study of this formative period in the development of this most adept artist.

Check out all the Francesca Woodman Programs happening at the museum here!

An accompanying publication, co-published with Rizzoli, features essays by Abrams and Drew Sawyer, curator of photographs at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Curated by
Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director at MCA Denver

Informative Text

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Fries Exhibition Fund. Additional support is provided by The David and Laura Merage Foundation. The museum also thanks The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation for its support. MCA Denver thanks the citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. 

The Fries Foundation

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