elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Robert Mapplethorpe & Sam Wagstaff

Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) was an American photographer, known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers and nude 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.

Robert Mapplethorpe met his lifetime companion Sam Wagstaff in 1972 at a party. Mapplethorpe, whom Wagstaff called his sly pornographer, was also his guide to the gay demimonde of extreme sex and drugs that flourished in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1980s, Wagstaff gave Mapplethorpe $500,000 to purchase the top-floor loft at 35 West 23rd Street, where the photographer lived and had his shooting space. Wagstaff died of pneumonia arising from AIDS at his home in Manhattan on January 14, 1987, two years before Mapplethorpe.

Mapplethorpe was born and grew up as a Roman Catholic of English and Irish heritage in Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Floral Park, Queens, New York. His parents were Harry and Joan Mapplethorpe and he grew up with five brothers and sisters. He studied for a B.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he majored in graphic arts, though he dropped out in 1969 before finishing his degree. Mapplethorpe lived with his partner Patti Smith from 1967–1974, and she supported him by working in bookstores. They created art together, and even after he realized he was gay they maintained a close relationship.


Sam Wagstaff & Robert Mapplethorpe by Francesco Scavullo
Sam Wagstaff was an American art curator and collector as well as the artistic mentor and benefactor of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who was also his lifetime companion. Wagstaff is known in part for his support of Minimalism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Earthworks, but his aesthetic acceptance and support of photography presaged the acceptance of the medium as a fine art. Sam Wagstaff met Robert Mapplethorpe in 1972 at a party. Wagstaff called Mapplethorpe "his shy pornographer."


Two Men Dancing, 1984

Mapplethorpe took his first photographs soon thereafter using a Polaroid camera. In the mid-1970s, he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began taking photographs of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, including artists, composers, and socialites. In the 1980s he refined his aesthetic, photographing statuesque male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and highly formal portraits of artists and celebrities. Mapplethorpe's first studio was at 24 Bond Street in Manhattan. In the 1980s Sam Wagstaff gave him the money to buy the top-floor loft at 35 West 23rd Street. He kept the Bond Street loft as his darkroom.

Mapplethorpe died on the morning of March 9, 1989, 42 years old, in a Boston, Massachusetts hospital from complications arising from AIDS. His body was cremated and the ashes buried in Queens, New York, in his mother's grave, marked 'Maxey'.

Nearly a year before his death, the ailing Mapplethorpe helped found the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. His vision for the Foundation was that it would be "the appropriate vehicle to protect his work, to advance his creative vision, and to promote the causes he cared about". Since his death, the Foundation has not only functioned as his official estate and helped promote his work throughout the world, it has also raised and donated millions of dollars to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV infection.

Burial: Saint John Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens County, New York, USA, Plot: Section 48, Range B Lots 131-133

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Mapplethorpe


Peter Reed, 1977


Peter Reed, 1977



Peter Reed, 1977


Peter Reed, 1977


Peter Reed, 1977


Peter Reed, 1977


Peter Reed, 1977


Peter Reed, 1977


Ajitto, 1981


Ajitto, 1981


Ajitto, 1981


Phillip Prioleau, 1982


Lisa Lyon, 1982


Lisa Lyon, 1981


Ken and Tyler, 1985


Lydia Cheng, 1987


Isabella Rossellini


Sonia and Tracy, 1988


Sonia Resika, 1988


Derrick Cross, 1983


Alistair Butler, 1980












Self Portrait, 1973


Patty and Robert, photo by Gerard Malanga

Samuel Jones Wagstaff Jr. (4 November 1921 – 14 January 1987) was an American art curator and collector as well as the artistic mentor and benefactor of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (who was also his lifetime companion) and poet-punk rocker Patti Smith. Wagstaff is known in part for his support of Minimalism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Earthworks, but his aesthetic acceptance and support of photography presaged the acceptance of the medium as a fine art. Sam Wagstaff met his lifetime companion and protégé, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1972 at a party. Mapplethorpe, whom Wagstaff called his shy pornographer, was also his guide to the gay demimonde of extreme sex and drugs that flourished in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1980s, Wagstaff gave Mapplethorpe $500,000 to purchase the top-floor loft at 35 West 23rd Street, where the photographer lived and had his shooting space.

Born on November 4, 1921, in New York City, Wagstaff was the son of Samuel Jones Wagstaff Sr., a wealthy lawyer from an old New York family, and his second wife, Polish émigré Olga May Piorkowska, a fashion illustrator who had worked for Harper's Bazaar and was previously married to Arthur Paul Thomas. He had one sibling, a sister, Judith (Mrs Thomas Lewis Jefferson). His parents divorced in 1932, and Wagstaff's mother, a daughter of Polish inventor and scientist Col. Arthur Emil Piorkowski, married Donald V. Newhall, an artist.

After growing up on Central Park South, attending the Hotchkiss School and graduating from Yale University, and being a fixture on the debutante circuit, Wagstaff joined the US Navy in 1941 as an ensign, where he took part in the D-day landing at Omaha Beach in World War II. He later worked in the field of advertising in the 1950s, which he hated. He returned to school to study Renaissance art at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts, however, and turned his energies to the art world.



In 1959, a David E. Finley art history fellowship took him to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He served as curator of contemporary art at the Wadsworth Atheneum from 1961 to 1968, and then at the Detroit Institute of Arts from 1968 to 1971. In addition to his curatorial work, Wagstaff was a noted collector, just like his father, who collected ephemera. After a conflict with the Detroit Institute of Arts' board of trustees over an earthwork by Michael Heizer, which had destroyed the immaculate museum lawn, he moved back to New York.

After seeing the exhibition "The Painterly Photograph, 1890-1914" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1973 and meeting Robert Mapplethorpe in 1972, Wagstaff became convinced that photographs were the most unrecognized and, possibly, the most valuable works of art. He began selling his collection of paintings, using the proceeds to buy 19th-century American, British, and French photography. Then, influenced by Mapplethorpe, Wagstaff's taste veered toward the daring, and he began to depart from established names in search of new talent. His collection was soon recognized as one of the finest private holdings in the United States. In 1984 Wagstaff's photography holdings - comprising at least 2,500 masterworks - went to the J. Paul Getty Museum, for a reported price said to be in the neighborhood of $5 million.

Saying he needed the challenge of building another collection, Sam Wagstaff turned to 19th-century American silver. A show of more than 100 examples from his silver collection opened on March 20, 1987 at the New–York Historical Society.

Between 1976 and 1986, Sam Wagstaff donated his personal papers to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. In 2008, the bulk of these papers were digitized and made available online (see the Samuel J. Wagstaff Papers, 1932–1985).

Wagstaff died of pneumonia arising from AIDS at his home in Manhattan on January 14, 1987, two years before Mapplethorpe.

A fund in Sam Wagstaff's name for the purchase of photographs was started in 1987 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by art dealer Daniel Wolf.

In 2007, James Crump directed the documentary film Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe, which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Because Mapplethorpe's story is already familiar to the public, the movie devotes most of its time to Wagstaff, whose personal history is a classic case of repressed or closeted homosexuality belatedly and furiously unleashed.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Wagstaff

Further Readings:

Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff + Robert Mapplethorpe 
Actors: Sam Wagstaff, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith 
Directors: James Crump 
Studio: Arthouse Films 
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2010 
Run Time: 72 minutes 
Amazon: Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff + Robert Mapplethorpe

Yale-educated and born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Sam Wagstaff s transformation from innovative museum curator to Robert Mapplethorpe s lover and patron is intensively probed in BLACK WHITE + GRAY. During the heady years of the 1970s and 1980s, the New York City art scene was abuzz with a new spirit, and Mapplethorpe would be at the center of it. Wagstaff pulled him from his suburban Queens existence, gave him a camera and brought him into this art world that seemed to be waiting for him, creating the man whose infamous images instilled emotions ranging from awe to anger. In turn, Mapplethorpe brought the formerly starched-shirt preppie to the world of drugs and gay S&M sex, well-documented in his still-startling photographs. Twenty-five years separated the lovers, but their relationship was symbiotic to its core, and the two remained together forever. The film also explores the relationship both men had with musician/poet Patti Smith, whose 1975 debut album Horses catapulted her to fame. The film features additional interviews with novelist Dominick Dunne, photographer Ralph Gibson and art historian John Richardson, among many others.

**Official Selection Tribeca International Film Festival
**Official Selection SilverDocs AFI/Discovery Documentary Festival

More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance


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Tags: art, days of love tb, gay classics
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