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Orchid
18.125" x 14.25"
Gelatin silver print
1985

Widely known for his portraits of artists, dancers and musicians as well as capturing scenes of the New York underground and high society, Mapplethorpe is also acclaimed for his sexualized close-ups of the anatomy of flora. This image of a white orchid floating in a saturated black background is perhaps less provocative than many of his portraits, yet offers his distinct, direct and unique perspective on a seemingly ordinary and otherwise accessible flower. This type of classically aesthetic and beautifully stylized still life was prevalent in Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre throughout the 1980s.