The Baldwin Gallery presents a show by internationally-acclaimed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe entitled “Horses” — works that have never been seen before as a group. The horse photos were commissioned in the mid-80s by a major Mapplethorpe collector who owned a large horse breeding farm. Though unusual subject matter for Mapplethorpe, his sensitivity to the voluptuous beauty of the natural world as seen in his well-known flower portraits, and his studies exploring the austere beauty of powerful musculature, provide a clear visual connection between the Horses group and Mapplethorpe’s better-known work. The core photos will be supplemented for the exhibition with Mapplethorpe photos and Polaroids showcasing the beauty and spirit of the American West. Serene and classical, Mapplethorpe’s horse photographs are balanced compositions of perfect stillness that reveal precisely detailed tonal nuances in the beautifully and structurally muscled horses. The natural elegance of the subject, combined with Mapplethorpe’s exquisite eye for light, form and shadow are an ideal connection with both Aspen’s ranching heritage and exceptional sophistication.
Famous for his celebrity portraits, fashion images and striking figural compositions, Mapplethorpe was also known for his sometimes controversial subject matter. Always, he was concerned with formal beauty and the intrinsic integrity of individual objects. Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946. Following a childhood on Long Island, he received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He died of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 42.