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Treasures from the Vault: Anticipating Mapplethorpe

Self-portraits by Sam Wagstaff, 1960s or 1970s. The Getty Research Institute, Samuel Wagstaff papers, 1860-1987, 2005.M.46. Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
Self-portraits by Sam Wagstaff, 1960s or 1970s. The Getty Research Institute, Samuel Wagstaff papers, 1860-1987, 2005.M.46. Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.

Many researchers are looking forward to delving in to the Robert Mapplethorpe archive we acquired in February. However, there is an important complementary collection of equal interest available right now: the Samuel Wagstaff papers. Wagstaff was a formidable curator and… More»

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      ROSE

      This milky pink boomed into popularity because of a marketing ploy, a mistress, and its ambiguous origins.

      In an effort to compete with the renowned Meissen porcelain factory, the French Sèvres manufactory recruited the glamorous Madame de Pompadour (mistress to King Louis XV). Like a smart sponsorship deal, Sèvres gave her all the porcelain she requested. 

      Introduced in 1757, this rich pink exploded on the scene thanks to favoritism by Madame Pompadour herself. 

      The glaze itself had a weird history. To the Europeans it looked Chinese, and to the Chinese it was European. It was made based on a secret 17th-century glassmaker’s technique, involving mixing glass with flecks of gold.

      For more on colors and their often surprising histories, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.

      12/19/14

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