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© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

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Waves 1980

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
Mapplethorpe rarely photographed nature outside in the raw and wild. The sea, with its changeable and unpredictable moods, would seem to be an unlikely subject for him, but the way that he tackles it gives it order and regularity - elements that are central to Mapplethorpe’s aesthetic. He photographs it head on, so that the horizon, the waves and shoreline line up in horizontal bands. Note also how he gives the sky and the shore equal spaces in the composition.


  • Acc. No. AR00224
  • Medium Photograph, gelatine silver print on paper
  • Size 34.10 x 34.20 cm (framed: 61.10 x 58.80 x 3.80 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008