Robert Mapplethorpe

Lowell Smith

1981

Medium
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensions
Image: 353 x 355 mm
frame: 605 x 586 x 35 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS 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
Reference
AR00161

Online caption

This is a beautiful example of the way that Mapplethorpe would often photograph the human body, or parts of it, against a geometrical, abstract background. The white board is viewed at a 90 degree angle so that it appears only as surface, as a white rectangle. There is little sense of depth, so that the man’s hands and arm stand out in contrast. Mapplethorpe may have been inspired to do this and other close-ups of parts of the body by the photographs that Alfred Stieglitz took of Georgia O’Keeffe’s hands around 1918-20 or that Man Ray took of Meret Oppenheim’s inked arm and hand in 1933.

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