ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE "WHIP" POLAROID, 1972
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 - 1989) helped elevate photography to be included as fine art in the 1970's thanks to his uncompromising images rich in contrasts 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.
While the subject matter may seem evocative of Mapplethorpe's work, it is worth emphasizing that he doesn't focus on S&M images until the late 1970's.
His process at the beginning of the decade is also different from his mature period. By the mid 70's he transitions to silver gelatin prints and shoots almost exclusively in a controlled studio setting. In this image, the wrinkled bed linens are an important compositional element, just as is the proximity of the lens to the subject.
In this tightly framed image, there is also an ambiguity of what the viewer is seeing. Are we looking at one body or two? Is the arm holding the whip from the same body with the exposed bottom? In later S&M related images Mapplethorpe's lens maintains a consistent distance from the subject. Here the photographer is so close to the body, he is almost a part of the activity.
As the decade progressed, Mapplethorpe commented on his images of sexuality: ‘I don’t like that particular word “shocking”. I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before… I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them.’
Mapplethorpe material created prior to 1974 is quite rare, as are his early Polaroids. Caviar20 is proud to be offering this evocative and unique print.
Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720
Annotated 'PD 963' in pencil in an unknown hand on the verso.
3.7”H 2.8”W (image)
Provenance: Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels
With a gallery label bearing information about the work in facsimile affixed to the back of the frame.
Very good condition. Detailed condition report by request
- 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?
Canadian clients are welcomed and encouraged to pay with interac.