Robert Mapplethorpe - SEX Theme Sale London Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Massachusetts

  • Literature

    Pictures, Arena, 1999; exhibition catalogue, Into Me / Out of Me, Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz (for a variant)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Robert Mapplethorpe is known to have fully embraced the photographic techniques which served his subject, beginning with the Polaroid and moving on to a larger format, experimenting with papers, exposure and the silver gelatin process – he looked for the marriage of perfection between form and process, and in this work this marriage is seamlessly fused.
    Transcending his ability to push the craft of photography, this image represents a significant period in Mapplethorpe’s work in which he celebrates a population overlooked for so long, addressing issues of the body, identity, the self, mortality and his own natural way of existing and being. He illustrates the sexual revolution and sexual freedom, but more importantly he shows the acceptance of what had previously been considered aberrant in society. Here he is revolutionary – fearlessly delving into the previously unexplored whilst allowing access to aspects of his own life. Through being an advocate and not a voyeur, Mapplethorpe instils dignity, beauty and integrity to these works which have become some of the most well-known in photographic history – these works were among those that sealed his reputation as a photographer. 

  • 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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Double Fist Fuck

Gelatin silver print.
35.2 × 35.1 cm (13 7/8 × 13 13/16 in).
Signed, dated and numbered 4/5 in ink in the  margin; signed, titled, dated in ink and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp on the reverse of the flush-mount. Image Available Upon Request.  

£3,000 - 5,000 

Sold for £3,750

SEX Theme Sale

19 March 2010