Robert Mapplethorpe


silver gelatin print: 24 x 20 inches
edition 1 of 10

One of the most iconic photographers of the 1980s, Robert Mapplethorpe produced an expansive body of work that included flowers, still lifes, nudes, and portraits, seen here in this photo of his friend, painter Brice Marden. Mapplethorpe photographed a number of artists – Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente, and Lawrence Weiner, among them – and captured each with a bold, yet intimate quality befitting the subject’s personality. Here, Marden quietly stares out at the viewer, seated in front of one of his gestural abstractions. The date of the photograph (1986) marks a moment when Marden is making a creative shift in his work away from his early Minimalist paintings to the more calligraphic work seen in the background. During his lifetime, Mapplethorpe participated in Documenta 6 in 1977, and The Whitney Museum of American Art held his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, a year before his death. Mapplethorpe’s work has been collected by virtually every important museum, including the Dallas Museum of Art where a number of his flower photos are currently on view in the exhibition Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s–Present.