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

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  • “Mapplethorpe poses the flowers as if they were women, some rare, others common; that is, he seeks to express character, whether it be dramatic or domestic, flamboyant or reserved, exotic or conventional.”
    —Hal Foster, Art Critic and Historian

    • Provenance

      Hamiltons Gallery, London
      Phillips, New York, 1 October 2014, lot 134

    • Literature

      Random House, Mapplethorpe: Pistils, p. 97
      TeNeues, Mapplethorpe: The Complete Flowers, cover and pl. 147
      Holborn and Levas, Mapplethorpe, p. 231
      Kardon, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, p. 77
      Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, n.p. for a variant

    • 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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Platinum print.
20 x 23 3/4 in. (50.8 x 60.3 cm)
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered 1/1 by Michael Ward Stout, Executor, in pencil on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$55,000 - 75,000 

Sold for $57,150

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023