Pop Art Forerunner Robert Rauschenberg died at 82

The American artist Robert Rauschenberg passed away May 13 at age 82.

Rauschenberg gained fame in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Several of his works — including “Canyon,” which featured a stuffed bald eagle affixed to a canvas; “Monogram,” a stuffed Angora goat on top of a painted panel; and “Bed,” a quilt, sheet and pillow slathered with paint and framed on a wall — became icons of postwar modernism.

Born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg, he briefly attended the University of Texas at Austin in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II prior to studying art. Upon being honorably discharged in the summer of 1945, Rauschenberg enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute (1947) and later at the Academia Julien in Paris (1948) before studying with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he formed life-long friendships with John Cage, Merce Cunningham and David Tudor. After moving to New York City in 1949, Rauschenberg enrolled in the Arts Students League.

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Robert Rauschenberg

In the spring of 1951, Rauschenberg was invited to exhibit at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City.
Two years later he created the first of his acclaimed Combine sculptures, works that incorporated painting and a variety of found objects.

The juxtaposition of different media (lithography, painting, photography, silk-screening and sculpture) and their interplay comprise Rauschenberg’s chief interests, and throughout his career, his work has been marked by a sense of experimentation and chance.


Robert Rauschenberg
mixed mediums with taxidermy bald eagle and pillow, ca. 87 x 70 x 24 in.
Sonnabend Collection

During the 1950s, Rauschenberg also began his lifelong involvement and affiliation with theatre and dance, designing sets and costumes for a variety of productions worldwide. At the time of his death Texas native was a painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and a composer.

Robert Rauschenberg experimented boundlessly. “I’m curious” he said in 1997 in one of the few interviews he granted in later years. It’s very rewarding. I’m still discovering things every day.”

Rauschenberg’s more than 50 years in art produced a varied and prolific collection that showed America that all of life could be open to art. … Rauschenberg didn’t give a fig for consistency, or curating his reputation; his taste was always omnivorous, and hit-or-miss, yet he had a bigness of soul and a richness of temperament that recalled Walt Whitman.

Rauschenberg split his time between New York and Captiva Island in Florida, where he kept a house stocked with his own art and those of his friends.

Prices for Robert Rauschenberg’s works start at $3000+ for a signed limited edition. Two days ago Sotheby’s sale records show his 1963 painting “Overdrive” sold for some $14.6 million.

source: rareposters at pressbox.co.uk

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