Today, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation announced that the artist’s estate will be represented in New York exclusively by Gladstone Gallery, effective immediately. For nearly 15 years, the estate had been managed by Sean Kelly Gallery.
“The gallery’s founder, Barbara Gladstone, had a close personal friendship with the artist during his lifetime when she exhibited his work from a project in which they collaborated. Her knowledge of the work is deep and historic,” Michael Ward Stout, the president of the foundation, said in a statement. “The foundation benefitted from a successful relationship with the Sean Kelly Gallery during the last many years, and it contributed significantly to the artist’s legacy. Going forward, we are enthusiastic to work with the Gladstone Gallery.”
A representative for Gladstone stressed that the split from Sean Kelly Gallery was “very amicable.” And Gladstone will only represent the estate in New York, as a variety of galleries represent the Mapplethorpe estate in other cities. Some of these galleries include Moran Bondaroff in Los Angeles, Xavier Hufkens Gallery in Brussels, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris, and many others.
During his lifetime, Mapplethorpe was represented primarily by the Robert Miller Gallery, which continued to handle the estate after Mapplethorpe’s death in 1989. In 1999, the gallery severed ties with the foundation, but then decided to stage a show of work that the foundation thought was similar to a show that was to be on view later that year at Cheim & Read, a gallery formed by two former Robert Miller Gallery employees. By 2003, the estate was being handled in New York exclusively by Sean Kelly Gallery.
The first exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea will take place in spring 2018.