Rauschenberg, Image via observercom

Robert Rauschenberg/ Milton Ernest Rauschenberg

United States 1925 - 2008

Pop Art, Neo-dada

www.rauschenbergfoundation.org

Robert Rauschenberg
Milton Ernest Rauschenberg
Male
United States
1925

Having the great impact on late 20th century visual culture, Robert Rauschenberg was one of the central figures in the development of post-war American art. His works bridge the gap from Abstract Expressionism to later modern movements. As a part of Neo-Dada movement, his innovative approach expanded the former boundaries opening the possibilities of experimentation for further artists. Although considered as a renegade of the 50’s, his predecessors and contemporaries showed a great respect for him. Unlike them, Rauschenberg decided to move forward with the new idea of art that repeated the earlier Dada postulates. His innovative theories and new approach to the definition of a work of art and the artist’s role have moved from a conceptual perspective that considered mark of the brushstroke as a reflection of the artist’s inner world toward employment of both traditional media and found objects, following his belief that painting is related to “both art and life”. His pieces are between these two realms and in constant and indispensable dialogue with the viewers.

 Robert Rauschenberg use paintings terms like Robert Rauschenberg - Collection, 1954 museum series policy american abstract artist jasper johns rauschenberg robert
Robert Rauschenberg – Collection, 1954

Rauschenberg’s Early Life and Education

Born as Milton Rauschenberg in 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas, he grew up in the family of Fundamentalist Christians and it was quite normal that he planned to become a minister. As an avid and skilled dancer, he gave up this idea when he realized that the church considers dancing for a sin. He also drew a lot, copying images from comics, but nobody took seriously his talent. In accordance with the wish of his parents, he attended the University of Texas at Austin where he studied pharmacology. After refusing to dissect the frog, he was expelled and the letter that arrived at the same time calling him to join army actually saved him from the announcement about an early end of his student days. Rejecting the idea of killing people on the battlefield, he served as a medical technician in the Navy Hospital where they cared for the survivors in San Diego. After the war, he started his painting studies at the Kansas City Art Institute and at the Academie Julian in Paris where he met his future wife, Susan Weil. He changed his name from Milton to Robert, because he thought it sounded more artistic. From 1949 to 1950 he attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina, under one of the Bauhaus artists, Josef Albers whose courses were based on strict discipline deprived of experiments. Great artist was a harsh critic of his student’s work, but his course on materials where he taught them to explore the line, texture, and color of common materials left a mark on Rauschenberg’s assemblages. Later, Rauschenberg described his teacher as a respectful man influencing him to do exactly the reverse as his departure point in the world painting.

Early paintings of Robert Rauschenberg are influenced by Josef Albers

Robert Rauschenberg - Stoned Moon Drawing, 1969 museum series policy american abstract artist jasper johns paintings terms like robert rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg – Stoned Moon Drawing, 1969

White, Black and Red Series

During the first two years of the 50’s, spending his academic years at the Art Students League in New York and summers at the Black Mountain College his ambition has increased so much that provide him a prestigious solo show at the betty Parsons Gallery in New York where he showed his series of White Paintings (1953). Robert Rauschenberg started to use the roller for the application of the white house paint onto his canvases that were under deliberate influence of their surroundings, reflecting every change of shadows. At the same time, Rauschenberg was explored the black as the total opposite and his Black Paintings (1951) were painted with the thick layers of paint, but with the implementation of newspaper scraps. Some of the major influences occurred during his stay at the Black Mountain College, referring to his encounter with minimalist composer John Cage and the choreographer Merce Cunningham who were the teachers there. They both have been the supporters of the use of chance methods, found objects and common experiences within high art. His early works relied on Pop Art and from the late 50’s he used the newspaper and magazine photographs in his paintings inventing the method of transferring images directly onto the canvas with solvent. Using the silk-screen stencil technique that would later be adopted by Andy Warhol, he created refined compositions inspired by the themes from modern American History and popular culture.

In fall 1952, Rauschenberg was divorced and after the Weil took their son and left to live with her parents, the artist decided to travel Europe and North Africa with Cy Twombly, his colleague from the Art Students League and intimate partner. That was the time when he made his first assemblage from the junk he found in the Italian countryside. His return to the United states was followed by further experiments in painting, with the red color this time. Resembling the Black paintings, the Red series (1953) also had the various surface textures with the implemented newspaper’s sheets. Improving and upgrading his experiments, he started to include new objects, from parasols to parts of a man’s undershirts. Rauschenberg coined the name of his innovative works, calling them combines because they represent the mixture of paint and practically sculpture on the canvas. His field of action also included photography, printmaking, and performance. Gathering garbage from the streets of New York, Rauschenberg implemented those found object into his work, giving them a new meaning. Combines refer to his work from 1954 to 1962, but he combined both painting and different objects throughout his career. At the end of 1953, Rauschenberg met the young painter Jasper Johns and two years later they started to live together, becoming romantic and artistic partners. Compared to the relationship that Pablo Picasso had with Georges Braque, two artists spent their time exchanging ideas and encouraging their mutual exploration that moved the boundaries of the known in art. They shared the same philosophy that shaped Neo-Dada style, adopting the accidental beauty in everyday life instead of the coded psychology of Abstract Expressionism. An increasing popularity of Jasper Johns, his face on the cover of Art News magazine and MoMA’s purchase of his paintings caused the jealousy and tension between the pair that resulted in final ending of their relationship in 1961.

Robert Rauschenberg’s early works relied on Pop Art

painting Robert Rauschenberg - Monogram, 1955-59 museum series american abstract artist jasper johns
Robert Rauschenberg – Monogram, 1955-59

1964 Venice Biennale and A Modern Inferno

Always interested in new technologies, Rauschenberg co-founded Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) in 1966, with the aim of encouraging the collaboration between the scientists and artists. By this time, his name already became respected within the art world. His American fame was followed by the European, after the exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery in London and Venice Biennale in 1964 when he won the first prize for painting, the first one assigned to an American. In 1965 he created one of his most famous pieces A Modern Inferno designed for Life Magazine in the occasion of the celebration of Dante’s seven-hundredth birthday. The 70’s represented a comeback of assemblages that used same techniques and imagery as earlier but now in the combination with more color and on a larger scale. During the 80’s Rauschenberg was engaged in traveling and spreading the idea that art could change the society, founding the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (R.O.C.I.) for that purpose. He visited primarily Communist countries, in spite of current American Cold War policies organizing exhibitions of his work inspired by the host country.

Robert Rauschenberg implemented found object into his work

Robert Rauschenberg museum view materials robert
Robert Rauschenberg – Mirthday Man, 1997

The Legacy of Robert Rauschenberg

Engaged in a reassessment of the definition of the artwork and role of the artist, making the turn from a conceptual outlook where artistic authenticity lied in the artist’s inner world towards interaction with popular media and mass-products that reflected artistic vision, his work ranges somewhere between the art and life, his pieces questioned the relation of artistic and everyday objects. In 1996 Rauschenberg went on a rehabilitation from alcoholism which deteriorated his health. A few years later he broke his hip which led to a stroke and the paralyzing of his right side. Still, he learned to use his left hand which enabled him to work until his death on May 12, 2008, from heart failure. Later modern movements were directly influenced by the Robert Rauschenberg’s work of the 50’s and 60’s. His combines and silkscreen printing experiments led to the further development of the same techniques by the hand of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. His Dada-based theories about the definition of art helped the foundation of Conceptual art, later performances had a source in his collaboration with John Cage and his tendency to borrowing images from popular media and fine art influenced postmodern aesthetic of appropriation. In 1990, he initiated the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF) with the aim of promoting humanitarian issues. Today, his Foundation possess his works from every period.

Robert Rauschenberg’s work is represented by Galerie Thalberg, Zurich, Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art, Miami, Pace Gallery, Bejing, Pace Gallery, Hong Kong, Pace Gallery, London, Pace Gallery, Menlo Park and Woodward Gallery, New York.

Featured image: Robert Rauschenberg, photo via observer.com
All images copyright of Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Upcoming Events

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Nov 11th, 2017 - Feb 11th, 2018

Robert Fontaine Pop-Up Group Exhibition

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Ongoing Events

FEATURED
Nov 11th, 2017 - Feb 11th, 2018

Robert Fontaine Pop-Up Group Exhibition

ROBERT FONTAINE GALLERY Miami, Florida, Miami, United States, 2111 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127, USA

Please select an option to add Robert Fontaine Pop-Up Group Exhibition into your calendar

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Robert RauschenbergPace Gallery, Hong KongSolo
2015Robert Rauschenberg: Art and Life in Real TimeSeattle Art MuseumSolo
2015Gilt (1983) by Robert RauschenbergMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, MadridSolo
2014Robert Rauschenberg: Works on MetalGagosian Gallery, Beverly HillsSolo
2014The Hague, Rauschenberg: Fifty Years after VeniceLivingstone GallerySolo
2014Rauschenberg: Cardbirds and CurrentsLong Beach Museum of Art, CalifSolo
2013The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and JohnsBarbican Art Gallery, London Group
2013Multiples Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, ORGroup
2012Robert Rauschenberg - 5 Decades of PrintmakingGreenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2012UntitledGrand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MISolo
2011Open Score By Robert RauschenbergSeventeen Gallery, London (England) Group
2011Rauschenberg: Prints from Universal Limited Art Editions, 1962-2008Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman, OK Group
2010Rauschenberg at GeminiArmory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CASolo
2010Uma Aventura ModernaColeção de Arte Renault, Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, BrazilGroup
2009Au Courant: Robert Rauschenberg‘s CurrentsFrederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MNSolo
2009The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia: 1860-1989Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NYGroup
2008RauschenbergUniversity of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FLSolo
2008Robert Rauschenberg: RuntsPaceWildenstein, New York, NY Solo
2007Robert Rauschenberg: em viagem 70-76 Museu Serralves - Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, PortugalSolo
2007Rauschenberg. Express Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, SpainSolo
2006Robert RauschenbergGallery Hyundai, Seoul, South Corea Solo
2006Robert RauschenbergCentre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, FranceSolo
2005Robert RauschenbergLocks Gallery, Philadelphia, PASolo
2005Robert Rauschenberg: on and off the wallMusée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain Nice, Nice, FranceSolo
2004Robert Rauschenberg: Current ScenariosWadsworth Museum of Art, Hartford, CTSolo
2004What´s modern?Gagosian Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003Popular, Pop & Post-Pop: Color Screenprints 1930s to NowPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PASolo
2002Robert Rauschenberg - Short StoriesWaddington Galleries, London, UKSolo
2002An American Legacy A Gift to New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYGroup
2001Robert Rauschenberg - Ruminations Völcker & freunde gallery, Berlin, GermanySolo
2000Robert RauschenbergDarryl Pottorf, Galerie Tanit, Munich, GermanyGroup
2000Robert Rauschenberg - Apogamy PodsPaceWildenstein, New York City, NYSolo
1999Robert RauschenbergMalerei, Galleri Faurschou, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
1999Robert Rauschenberg - The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong PieceMassachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MASolo
1998Robert Rauschenberg - RetrospectivaMuseo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, Bilbao, SpainSolo
1997RetrospectiveGuggenheim Museum, New York, NY in collaboration with the Menil Collection, Houston, TX Travelled to the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain)Solo
1996Robert Rauschenberg - AnagramsPaceWildenstein, New York, NY;Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
1995Robert Rauschenberg: SculptureThe Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TXSolo
1994Albers, Rauschenberg, Stella - Graphik 1967-1970Galerie Renée Ziegler, ZurichGroup
1993Robert RauschenbergSala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain Solo
1992Robert Rauschenberg: Wax Fire Works Greenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
1991Robert Rauschenberg: The Early 1950sThe Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DCSolo
1990Robert Rauschenberg Soviet American ArrayGreg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
1989Robert Rauschenberg Bellini SeriesGreg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
1988Rauschenberg, 34 Drawings for Dante's Inferno and Selections from the Drawings CollectionMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYSolo
1987UntitledThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkGroup
1986Robert Rauschenberg: Photographs 1949–1984Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXSolo
1985Robert RauschenbergFundación Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain Solo
1984Rauschenberg/PerformanceContemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXSolo
1982Rauschenberg in ChinaMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYSolo
1981Rauschenberg in the RockiesAspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO Solo
1980Robert RauschenbergKunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, GermanySolo
1970–1971Stoned moon series, Lithographien 1969-1970Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
1970Robert Rauschenberg : prints 1948-1970 The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MNSolo
1969Robert Rauschenberg: Selections The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TXSolo
1968Rauschenberg: Soundings MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYSolo
1965Rauschenberg: 34 Drawings for Dante's InfernoMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NYSolo
1964Robert RauschenbergWhitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK Solo
1963RetrospectiveJewish Museum, New York, NYSolo
1951UntitledBetty Parsons Gallery, New York, NSolo