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Robert Mapplethorpe

American, 1946–1989

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Robert Mapplethorpe

American, 1946–1989

14,630
Followers
Biography

In the 1970s, Robert Mapplethorpe and musician, poet, and artist Patti Smith lived together in New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel where he started shooting Polaroids to use in his collages. Drawn to photography, Mapplethorpe got a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began taking pictures of his friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the gay S & M underground. Despite his shocking content, Mapplethorpe was a formalist, interested in composition, color, texture, balance, and, most of all, beauty. In the 1980s, he concentrated on studio photography, specifically nudes, flowers, and formal portraits that are considerably more refined than his earlier work. After Mapplethorpe died from an AIDS-related illness, his work precipitated national controversy when it was included in “The Perfect Moment,” a traveling exhibition funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Categories
Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
£549k, Christie's, 2017
User
Solo show at a major institution
Centre Pompidou, and 5 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 13 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 3 more
Biography

In the 1970s, Robert Mapplethorpe and musician, poet, and artist Patti Smith lived together in New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel where he started shooting Polaroids to use in his collages. Drawn to photography, Mapplethorpe got a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began taking pictures of his friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the gay S & M underground. Despite his shocking content, Mapplethorpe was a formalist, interested in composition, color, texture, balance, and, most of all, beauty. In the 1980s, he concentrated on studio photography, specifically nudes, flowers, and formal portraits that are considerably more refined than his earlier work. After Mapplethorpe died from an AIDS-related illness, his work precipitated national controversy when it was included in “The Perfect Moment,” a traveling exhibition funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
£549k, Christie's, 2017
User
Solo show at a major institution
Centre Pompidou, and 5 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 13 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 3 more
Shows Featuring Robert Mapplethorpe
Articles Featuring Robert Mapplethorpe
From Nobuyoshi Araki to Jo Ann Callis, These Photographers Captured the Desire and Dynamics of Fetish
Oct 22nd, 2019
From Nobuyoshi Araki to Jo Ann Callis, These Photographers Captured the Desire and Dynamics of Fetish
Queer Art, Gay Pride, and the Stonewall Riots—50 Years Later
Jun 3rd, 2019
Queer Art, Gay Pride, and the Stonewall Riots—50 Years Later
Why Mapplethorpe’s Photographs Remain Subversive, Even without the Shock Value
Jan 14th, 2019
Why Mapplethorpe’s Photographs Remain Subversive, Even without the Shock Value
From Jean-Michel Basquiat to Georgia O’Keeffe, 8 Artists Who Are Style Icons
Oct 18th, 2017
From Jean-Michel Basquiat to Georgia O’Keeffe, 8 Artists Who Are Style Icons
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