Robert Mapplethorpe

Doris Saatchi (1983)

About this artwork

The American, Doris Saatchi (née Lockhart), was Charles Saatchi’s first wife. This photograph was taken when the couple had attained almost legendary status as collectors of international contemporary art. The four-volume set of catalogues of their collection, ‘Art of Our Time’, was published in 1984 and showed that they had acquired many works now considered masterpieces. Mapplethorpe has captured her as a disembodied head looking directly into the camera with no hesitation. She has the gaze of someone who knows what she wants and knows how to appraise it.

  • title: Doris Saatchi
  • accession number: AR00155
  • artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Gelatine silver print
  • date created: 1983
  • measurements: 37.40 x 37.50 cm (framed: 50.80 x 40.60 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe

The American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe became famous, not to say, notorious, in the 1970s and 1980s for his photographs of the male nude and sexually explicit, gay imagery. Although often considered controversial, Mapplethorpe tested the right to individual freedom of expression. These images were not meant to be titillating or obscene but beautiful in a traditionally classical way. His work, therefore, holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is, with honesty and truth. His nudes, when considered alongside his portraits of children and flower photographs, show him to be overwhelmingly interested in the beauty and transience of life. Mapplethorpe, even when facing death from AIDS, affirmed the beauty of the here and now.