Robert Mapplethorpe, ‘Selected Polaroids’, 1973-75, Sotheby's

Each framed, with a Whitney Museum of American Art label on the reverse, (Polaroids, pl. 60, Untitled (Bed and Telephone) (this print); and pl. 63, a variant of Untitled (Constantine Hotel, Shower)) (2).

Each 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 in. (8.9 by 11.4 cm.) or the reverse

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Polaroids: Mapplethorpe, May - September 2008, and traveling thereafter to 3 locations through 2010

Acquired from the photographer by Judy Linn, friend and fellow artist, mid-1970s

About Robert Mapplethorpe

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.

American, 1946-1989, Queens, New York, based in New York, New York