Robert Mapplethorpe


Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 - 1989) helped elevate photography to be considered as fine art in the 1970's thanks to his uncompromising images rich in contrast, from beautiful to brutal and elegant to uninhibited.

Mapplethorpe’s career was as glittering as it was controversial. Feted and vilified in equal measure, he ran a successful commercial studio (for portraiture and fashion photography) while simultaneously producing some of the most contentious (and beautiful!) images of the 20th century.

His depictions of gay sexuality (including S&M and bondage) provoked a fierce backlash both at the time of their creation and well into the 1990's and beyond. 

This unique polaroid dates from the period where Mapplethorpe begins to focus on pure photography, abandoning the collages of the first chapter of his career. It is also a foreshadowing of his curiosity and pursuit of New York's S&M scene.

This unique polaroid features an opened bottle of Mo√ęt-Chandon with a sharp blade emerging from the neck. Typical of Mapplethorpe, there is his signature balance of formalist qualities, foreboding references, with a touch of sexuality and violence.

Mapplethorpe's style is instantly recognizable: simple forms set against neutral backgrounds, a razor-sharp focus and opulent, tonal gradations ranging from inky, velvety black to luminous silver-white.

Although this is a unique polaroid, it's sibling is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. We believe that our example is superior of the two; the label is mostly concealed which intensifies the shapes and composition.  

Robet Mapplethorpe mounted over fifty solo exhibitions during his lifetime, including numerous museum shows in the USA, Europe and Japan. Since his death, his work has continued to be exhibited and acquired by major international art institutions. 

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

"Untitled" (Moet Blade)

USA, 1972

Unique polaroid.

Annotated 'PD 708' in pencil in an unknown hand on the verso. 

Original stamp from Mertens Framers. 

4.5‚ÄĚH 3.4‚ÄĚW (image)

15"H  8"W (framed)

Very good condition. Detailed condition report by request

Provenance: Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels

With a gallery label bearing information about the work in facsimile affixed to the back of the frame.  

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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. 

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