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Music and Art

Photographs in 20th Century, Modern & Contemporary Fine Art

An artist is anyone who ‘creates’, including musicians and composers who create music. The creative process in its many forms has provided a symbiotic relationship between artists of various mediums, most notably in the work of composer Claude Debussy and his relationship to the Impressionist painters at the end of the 19th century and the artistic parallels between atonal music and modern painting in the half of the 20th century.  An interesting intersection of music and fine art can be seen in the work of photographers whose subjects are musicians. Our December 2nd 20th Century, .Modern & Contemporary Fine Art sale offers a selection of photographs that capture the beauty of the  creative process and the personalities of the subjects. The highlight in the sale is Robert Mapplethorpe’s portrait titled Patti Smith (With Neck Brace). Second only to self portraits, Robert Mapplethorpe’s favorite subject was Patti Smith. The two met in New York City in 1967 and became lovers, living together in Brooklyn and then at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street. Mapplethorpe began taking portraits of Smith as soon as he acquired his first camera, and would shoot several of her album covers, including most notably Horses in 1975. The image here is of Patti Smith after an accident in January 1977 at Curtis Hixen Hall in Tampa, FL where she was performing with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. Smith fell on stage while dancing and broke two vertebrae, forcing her to return to NYC on bed rest and to wear a neck brace. This image captures Smith in that moment, sitting erect in bed, slightly disheveled, holding the neck brace as if it were a scepter. Richard Cork wrote in his book New Spirit, New Sculpture, New Money: Art in the 1980s that “Patti Smith holds up her neck brace with the sobriety of a saint displaying the instrument that brought about her martyrdom.” The following year, Smith left New York to live with Fred “Sonic” Smith in Detroit. Mapplethorpe and Smith remained very close until his death in 1989.

Also included in the sale are photographs by Arnold Newman of composer Pierre Boulez, Edward Steichen of the opera singer Paul Robeson, William Gottlieb of Billy Holiday, Herman Leonard of Miles Davis, and Elliott Landy of Jimi Hendrix.

Time & Location

20th Century, Modern & Contemporary Fine Art
Thursday, December 2 at 11am

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