© The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation - used by permission
© The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation - used by permission
© The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation - used by permission

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE

Born on 4 November  1946, in Floral Park, New York, Robert Mapplethorpe left home in 1962 and enrolled at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1963, where he studied painting and sculpture and received his B.F.A.. After his first struggling years as a young artist in which lived together with emerging rock star Patti Smith, Mapplethorpe had his first substantial shows in 1977. A simultaneous uptown-downtown exhibit of photographs of flowers at the Holly Solomon Gallery and one of male nudes and sadomasochistic imagery at the Kitchen. Mapplethorpe’s diverse work made of homoerotic images, floral still lifes, pictures of children, commissioned portraits, mixed-media sculpture, is united by the constancy of his approach and technique. The surfaces of his prints offer a seemingly endless gradation of blacks and whites, shadow and light, and regardless of subject, his images are both elegant and provocative. In the mid-to-late 1980s, returning to the sculptural use of photography seen in his early assemblages, Mapplethorpe created sensual diptychs and triptychs of photographs printed on fabric and luxurious cloth panels. In 1988, four major exhibitions of his work were organized: by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and the National Portrait Gallery, London. Mapplethorpe died due to complications from AIDS on  9 March 1989, in Boston. Photology host his first gallery show in Milano in 1993 followed by a Patti Smith appearance in 1996 for the presentation of his pocket size publication Secret Flowers (book available for sale). Other vintage prints (works available for sale) are included in highly attended group shows The New York scene. Sex, Art & America Culture 70-80 and 20forU.