WThe New York Public Library  /  Photographers’ Identities Catalog
PIC ID: 17585

Robert Mapplethorpe

American, 1946-1989


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Mapplethorpe studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he met singer/poet Patti Smith in 1968, whom he later photographed for her album covers. His initial interest in photography took the form of collages from photographs he found, but in 1972 he began to take pictures with a Polaroid camera. His images are classical and formal in appearance, his favorites subjects being male nudes, flowers, and still lifes. His homoerotic images became the subject of a much publicized obscenity charge in 1990 involving the Cincinnati Art Museum. Mapplethorpe also did a series of self-portraits toward the end of his life, documenting his deteriorating health from AIDS.

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Robert Mapplethorpe has 2 locations.

Birth (November 4, 1946)

Floral Park, NY

Death (March 9, 1989)

Boston, MA