Robert Mapplethorpe - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “My whole point is to transcend the subject . . . go beyond the subject somehow, so that the composition, the lighting, all around, reaches a certain point of perfection.”
    —Robert Mapplethorpe

    • Provenance

      Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 1988

    • Literature

      Holborn, Mapplethorpe Flora: The Complete Flowers, p. 256
      Random House, Mapplethorpe: Pistils, p. 77

    • Artist Biography

      Robert Mapplethorpe

      American • 1946 - 1989

      After studying drawing, painting and sculpture at the Pratt Institute in the 1960s, Robert Mapplethorpe began experimenting with photography while living in the notorious Chelsea Hotel with Patti Smith. Beginning with Polaroids, he soon moved on to a Hasselblad medium-format camera, which he used to explore aspects of life often only seen behind closed doors.

      By the 1980s Mapplethorpe's focus was predominantly in the studio, shooting portraits, flowers and nudes. His depiction of the human form in formal compositions reflects his love of classical sculpture and his groundbreaking marriage of those aesthetics with often challenging subject matter. Mapplethorpe's style is present regardless of subject matter — from erotic nudes to self-portraits and flowers — as he ceaselessly strove for what he called "perfection of form."

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Photogravure with silk collé.
32 5/8 x 32 1/4 in. (82.9 x 81.9 cm)
Overall 50 5/8 x 43 3/4 in. (128.6 x 111.1 cm)

Signed, dated, and numbered 8/27 in pencil in the margin; copyright credit 'Graphicstudio' stamp on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $27,940

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023