Lot Details

Framed size is 19.75 x 15.88 in (50 x 40.3 cm). Unframed size is 13.58 x 13.7 in (34.8 x 34.8 cm).

This stark portrait of Phillip Prioleau shows the subject perched naked on a pedestal, his gaze turned toward the viewer. Displaying Mapplethorpe's commitment to classical composition, the photograph also evokes a unique tension between the sitter's personality and the sexual and aesthetic objectification of his body. "Phillip Prioleau, NYC" was part of the artist's celebrated Z Portfolio, a series of portraits of black male nudes.

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 –1989) was an American photographer, known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers, and naked men. The frank, homosexual eroticism of some of the work of his middle period triggered a more general controversy about the public funding of artworks. Born and raised in New York, Mapplethorpe studied graphic arts at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where he earned his BFA in 1970 while also working as a photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine. In his own work, Mapplethorpe began with intimate self-portraits and portraits of his friends, which included artists such as Patti Smith and members of the SM-scene in New York. Focusing on themes of beauty, sex, and intimacy, Mapplethorpe created sensual nude portraits and flower still lives, which dominated his oeuvre from the 1980s. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, Mapplethorpe established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to support and promote photography and fight again AIDS and HIV, in 1988, the same year as his first major retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Mapplethorpe passed away in 1989 from AIDS-related complications.

Selected Public Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Portrait Gallery, London, England
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tate Modern, London, England

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Provenance:
  • Gift from the artist Private Collection, Belgium
  • Pickup Location: Belgium
  • Shipping Dimensions: 13.58 x 13.7 in. (34.49 x 34.8 cm.)
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