Robert Mapplethorpe

Brice Marden (1976)

About this artwork

The American painter, Brice Marden, was a friend of Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. His austere, monochrome abstractions were being widely shown by the mid-1970s and he had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1975. Almost in emulation of Marden’s carefully balanced compositions, Mapplethorpe has divided his image into two, almost equal, halves by a vertical pipe on the wall. The triangular shape formed by the seated Marden on the left is counterbalanced by a group of stacked paintings on the far right.

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  • title: Brice Marden
  • accession number: AR00147
  • artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • subject: Visual arts
  • medium: Gelatine silver print
  • date created: 1976
  • measurements: 34.00 x 34.10 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.