In the archives of...
LACMA and the Getty acquired Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1980 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the J. Paul Getty Trust just announced their joint acquisition of art and archival materials by or associated with Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the great photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. The vast majority of the acquisition comes in the form of a generous gift from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and the remainder from funds provided by The David Geffen Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust.
This significant acquisition establishes Los Angeles as the center for the study of Mapplethorpe, gathering in one location the finest and most representative body of the artist’s work in conjunction with the definitive collection of related archival materials. The acquisition covers more than 2,000 works of art by the artist, including a print of virtually every photograph he editioned in silver gelatin, a large number of Polaroid works and unique works, artworks by Mapplethorpe’s contemporaries and the richest and most extensive documentation of his career, including personal correspondence with significant cultural figures of the period.
The J. Paul Getty Museum and LACMA will add well over 2,000 jointly owned works of art to their collections, and a substantial archive will reside at the Getty Research Institute. LACMA and the Getty are planning a collaborative series of monographic exhibitions, and additional plans are currently being developed to show and publish the work in the future.
The LACMA portion of the purchase was made possible by a generous gift from The David Geffen Foundation. “I am extremely happy to support this acquisition of artwork and papers by one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century,” commented David Geffen, “and to add to Los Angeles’ stature as one of the most important centers for photography in the world.”
At the Getty Research Institute, the Mapplethorpe archival material joins the archives of Wagstaff, the noted curator and collector who was the artist’s partner, and Harry Lunn, the prominent photography dealer who published Mapplethorpe’s X, Y and Z Portfolios.