The J. Paul Getty Trust Research Home Search Tools & Databases Collection Inventories and Finding Aids
Collection Inventories and Finding Aids


Home | Return to Search Results

Find a term within this inventory

Print View

Robert Mapplethorpe papers and photographs, circa 1850-2011, bulk 1970-1989

Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record for this collection. Click here for the access policy.
Descriptive Summary
Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content of Collection
Restrictions
Indexing Terms
Related Material
Administrative Information
Other Finding Aids
Container List
Series I. Creative work, circa 1850-2009 (bulk 1960-1988)
Series I.A. Artworks by Robert Mapplethorpe, circa 1964-1988
Series I.B. Artworks by others, circa 1850-2009 (bulk 1969-1988)
Series I.C. Non-editioned prints, 1974-1989, 2008
Series I.D. Portfolios, circa 1970-2005
Series I.E. Commissioned and commercial works, 1970-1993, undated
Series I.F. Jewelry, 1970s
Series I.G. Films, 1978-1984
Series II. Photographic practice, circa 1975-2000
Series II.A. Card inventory of editioned prints, circa 1979-circa 1991
Series II.B. Shooting books, circa 1979-1989
Series II.C. Model releases, 1978-2000
Series II.D. Polaroid test shots, circa 1975-1989
Series III. Photographic documentation, 1969-circa 1989, undated
Series V. Exhibition files, 1977-1992, undated
Series VI. Interviews and documentaries, circa 1980-circa 1989, undated
Series VII. Financial and administrative files, 1964-1995, bulk 1975-1989, undated
Series VIII. Collections and miscellaneous items, circa 1880-1989, undated
Series IX. Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, 1977-2011, undated
Series IX.A. Administrative files, 1989-circa 2011, undated
Series IX.B. Exhibition files, 1989-2011, undated
Series IX.C. Press materials and published works, 1989-2003, undated
Series IV. Correspondence, 1969-1991, undated
Series IV.A. Personal and professional, 1969-1991, undated
Series IV.B. General correspondence files, 1973-1990, undated
Mapplethorpe (Robert) papers

Biographical/Historical Note

A key figure in late 20th-century photography, Robert Mapplethorpe created work with a distinctive tension between opposites: sacred and profane, mainstream and underground, light and dark. From his early Polaroid portraits, to his fashion photography and later controversial work, Mapplethorpe's photographs are well-ordered and emotionally restrained, with chaotic and sensuous elements beneath the surface. Born in Queens, New York in 1946, Mapplethorpe studied graphic arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before dropping out in 1969. He met the musician, poet, and artist Patti Smith in 1967 and they lived together as intimate and artistic partners until 1974. In 1972, Mapplethorpe met two influential curators. John McKendry gave him his first Polaroid camera, with which he made self-portraits and portraits of his friends and acquaintances in the art world. Samuel Wagstaff, Jr. later became the artist's lover and mentor. By the mid-1970s, Mapplethorpe had acquired a medium format camera and began photographing the world of New York's S & M clubs. Mapplethorpe refined his style in the early 1980s to create elegant figure studies, delicate floral still lifes, nudes, and celebrity portraits. His preference for simple compositions and a sophisticated use of lighting to articulate subtleties of form distinguished his mature work. His career was successfully championed by pioneering photography dealer Harry Lunn, who, along with Robert Miller and Robert Self, published portfolios of some of the artist's most challenging work. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mapplethorpe's X Portfolio was at the center of an American culture war over whether public monies should be used to underwrite art that some deemed obscene or blasphemous. In 1989, at age 42, Mapplethorpe died from complications of AIDS. A year earlier, he established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, which protects his work, promotes his legacy, and supports the causes he believed in, such as art programs and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.




The J. Paul Getty Trust The J. Paul Getty Trust
© J. Paul Getty Trust
Privacy Policy Terms of Use