About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Publisher: Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A.: Random House Inc
Publication Date: 1996
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
Robert Mapplethorpe began taking photographs in the 1970s with a Polaroid camera given to him by a friend. When he died in 1989 of AIDS, at the age of forty-two, he was considered one of the most important photographers of his generation, having gained a reputation as the avatar of a rigorous formalism stunningly wed to graphic and sometimes controversial subject matter.
Most of Robert Mapplethorpe's days began in the early afternoon, often by photographing flowers. Mapplethorpe used them to help focus his vision, centering and warming up for his commercial portrait work. The flowers also helped him to effect the transition to the more daring work, which he executed late at night.
Pistils reproduces 120 of these ravishing images of flowers, many of which have never been published. The full range of Mapplethorpe's virtuosity is displayed here--early Polaroids: exacting still lifes in black-and-white and color; and extremely rare, toned gravure prints. Not since Georgia O'Keeffe has an artist looked at flowers with as developed an eye as Robert Mapplethorpe. In them he discovered sex, death, redemption, and, always, beauty. These photographs go far beyond decorative allure to place him firmly in the pantheon of the photographic masters.
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in Queens, New York in 1946. He studied at the Pratt Institute, working primarily in printmaking and as a filmmaker. He began to take photographs, at first mainly Polaroids, while living with the singer Patti Smith in the Chelsea Hotel. Mapplethorpe had his first one-man exhibition in New York in 1976. He became known for his portraits of friends and acquaintances, among them artists, composers, architects, socialites, stars of pornographic films, and members of the homosexual underground. His photographs of flowers and of nude black men were also widely praised. In 1988 the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted the first major retrospective of Mapplethorpe's work. Mapplethorpe died the following year, and an exhibition of his photographs organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia led to debate over public support of the arts.
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