Robert Mapplethorpe


Robert Mapplethorpe earned his place in the canon from his incredible output of images that ranged from beautiful to brutal. Mapplethorpe was one of the key artists who helped elevate photography from image-making to fine art. 

Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) fearlessly depicted the body (his own, friends' and lovers') in a way that positioned his work in line with masters such as Reubens, Courbet and Eadweard Muybridge to mention a few. 

Despite the sometimes shocking content of his work, Mapplethorpe's photographs possess a formalist quality with their undeniable beauty and strict compositions. 

From 1978-1981, Mapplethorpe created thirty-nine black and white photographs that make up his acclaimed XYZ Portfolios. While each portfolio is a distinct exploration of Mapplethorpe's signature subject matter, when combined, XYZ Portfolios serves as a definitive and in-depth representation of his mature and most sought-after, period.  

(Of the portfolios, X explores homosexuality and sadomasochism; Y features floral still life; while Z showcases portraits of Black men) Click here to see a portrait from the Z portfolio. 

In 2012, the XYZ Portfolios were shown in an exhibition at LACMA and presented in three rows (X on top, followed by Y in the middle, and Z below) as Mapplethorpe had envisioned them in 1989.

"Gardenia" is one of thirteen images from the Y Portfolio, featuring a fragrant and graphic flower. Shot overhead, this tranquil image captures a delicate flower subtly floating in a dark, contrasting bowl. Aside from the flower's shadow below, the still water is nearly inconspicuous, contributing to the air of grace and elegance that this piece evokes.  While the depiction is straightforward, Mapplethorpe's contrasts lead to a more ambiguous image; is this actually a flower or some alien specimen being examined? 

This powerful black and white image is a prime example of Mapplethorpe's work, highlighting his studio-centric practice as well as his refined and meticulous printing.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire an iconic work by one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century. Caviar20 is proud to be offering this monumental and important piece. 

Questions about this artwork?  Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720


USA, 1978

Gelatin silver print

Signed in ink by Michael Ward Stout and credited and dated on photographer's estate stamp, mount verso.

13.25"H 12.75"W (image)

16.75"H 16"W (framed) 

Very good condition

Provenance: Xavier Hufkens, Brussels

- Where does the inventory ship from?
Our inventory is divided between New York and Toronto. 

- Where do you ship to?
We can ship anywhere. Typically when we ship within North America we prefer to use FedEx or DHL. To Europe, Asia and beyond we generally use DHL. 

- How much does it cost to ship?
For shipments within North America, we typically charge a flat rate fee. Many items on our site will list the rate. For shipping outside of North America, we can easily provide a quote and will look for the most efficient and economical option.

Most of the items on our site can be easily shipped internationally.

Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere. 

- Are there additional taxes or fees?
When a work is valued above $2,500 usd there is a possibility of tax of 0.35%, but this is applied sporadically. There can similarly be an additional fee for customs brokerage and this can range from $20 - $65. US Taxes, duties and customs brokerage are not included in our flat rate shipping. However most of our shipments to the US enter without any additional fees. 

- Do you provide a certificate of authenticity?
Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity. 

What is your return policy?
- Caviar20 wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. We have a 7 day no-questions full refund return policy for your purchase. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. After 8 days returns are given a credit note. There is no expiration for our credit notes.

- What payment methods do you accept?

If purchasing directly online, Caviar20 accepts all major credit cards as well as Paypal. If invoiced, Caviar20 accepts all major credit cards on regularly priced merchandise. 

Discounted material must be paid by wire transfer, or with Paypal (if funds are sent as 'friends and family'). There is a 3.5% administration fee for credit cards on discounted material. 

Caviar20 does not accept personal checks or Zelle. 

Canadian clients are welcomed and encouraged to pay with interac.
Please contact us directly at if interested in paying with a cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum).


You may also like