Robert Mapplethorpe

Andy Warhol (1986)

About this artwork

Andy Warhol was one of the most influential artists of the late twentieth century. Indeed, Mapplethorpe had idolised him while he was studying at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in the late 1960s. However, by 1973 when they showed together at the Gotham Book Mart in New York, they were distrustful of each other. This portrait shows Warhol wearing a black leather jacket and scarf that merges with the background, creating a triangular void between his head and hands. His hands are held in a slightly unnatural, awkward position to the front, almost as though handcuffed. His silver wig is ruffled and messy but his blank expression gives nothing away.

see more information
  • title: Andy Warhol
  • accession number: AR00220
  • artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
  • depicted: Andy Warhol
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Gelatine silver print
  • date created: 1986
  • measurements: 57.00 x 47.50 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.