Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
The American artist Brice Marden emerged in the 1960s as a painter of flat monochrome works. In the 1980s, however, influenced by Far Eastern calligraphy and poetry, he had turned to a freer, gestural type of painting, of the sort that can be seen behind him in this photograph. The frontality and symmetry of Marden’s pose provide a strong structural centre in the image, set against the expressive, free flow of the painting behind him which continues on to his shirt. This contrasts with the earlier portrait of Marden by Mapplethorpe in 1976, which imitated Marden’s carefully balanced minimal paintings of the time in a more sparse composition.