Robert Rauschenberg 1925 —


Robert Rauschenberg, born on October 22, 1925 in Port Arthur Texas, initially pursued an education in pharmacology in Texas.  After being drafted to the US Navy, he began his studies at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1947 and pursued studies in the arts in Paris at the Academie Julian in 1948.  


His first solo exhibit at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York in the fall of 1948 took place concurrently with his intermittent studies at the Art Students League in New York.  At his time, his art did not yet evolve into the mixed medium works for which he is currently most known.  The 1948 exhibit culminated in a display of mostly blueprints, monochromatic white and black paintings.  


Traveling with artist Cy Twombly to Africa during the Fall of 1953 to the spring of 1953 proved to be the catalyst for the evolution of his work.   While abroad, Rauschenberg produced a series of collages, suspended assemblages and Lucite boxes containing elements he found along his travels.  His newfound passion for including found objects in his works were exhibited in Rome and Florence.


Post-Africa, Rauschenberg returned to New York to complete a series of black paintings centered around the use of newspaper as the base for his mixed-media sculptures consting of natural objects just as wood and stones found in urban New York as well as those from nature like paper and dirt.  Progression culminated in more conceptual works such as Automobile tile Print (1953) and Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953) and the Red Painting series on canvases, which served as the singular basis for his Combines. He coined the term to describe the works on which he focused containing painting and sculpture as well as found objects.


Next, Jasper Johns’ “Neo-Dada” inspiration launched Rauschenberg into a new stage of influence.  The two had neighboring studios and often exchanged ideas, which culminated in Rauschneberg’s silkscreen paintings in 1962.  At this juncture, he had his first career retrospective organized by the Jewish Museum in New York in 1963 and was subsequently awarded the Grand Prize for Painting in 1964 at the Venice Biennale. 


Rauschenberg's self-proclaimed modicum of creating somewhere "in the gap between art and life" implies a questioning of the division between art objects and everyday objects, reminiscent of the notions raised by the Marcel Duchamp’s "Fountain."  Conversely, in 1961, Rauschenberg made a move in the opposite direction by emphasizing the supreme role of creator in controlling the meaning of art.


A notoriously Rauschenberg-like happening took place when he was invited to participate in an exhibition at the Galerie Iris Clert, where artists were asked create and display a portrait of the owner, Iris Clert. As a submission, the artist sent a telegram to the gallery stating "This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so," yet again defending the artist’s omnipotence in controlling the meaning of art.


During yet another transformative period for Rauschenberg, the 1960s were a time for exploration of the concepts of collaborative efforts in performance, printmaking, and choreography.  In 1970, he settled in Captiva, Florida, where he currently lives and works. 


The National collection of Fine arts, Whashtingon, d.c., organized a retrospective in 1976-78.    Travel continued to play a key role at this time in terms of travel as a source of inspiration, and he continued to do so with the ultimate result of the Rauschenber Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) project spanning from 1985 to 1991.  The largest Rauschenberg retrospective to date was organized by the Solomon R. Gugehemi Museuem in New York in 1997.

An important source for modern and contemporary American & European Art in East Hampton, New York & worldwide, Janet Lehr Fine Arts' spectacular wide-ranging inventory consists of unique paintings, drawings, large & small scale sculpture, monotypes, prints and photographs  by Ansel Adams, Milton Avery, Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Fernando Botero, Cartier-Bresson, Marc Chagall, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Willem De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, David Hockney, Winslow Homer, Wolf Kahn, Jeff Koons, Fernand Leger, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Thomas Moran, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Charles Sheeler, Bert Stern, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, Carleton E Watkins, Tom Wesselmann and Andrew Wyeth.

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View synoptic biography below.


Collage and acrylic on paper

31 x 23.25 inches

Select Exhibitions:

2007    "Rauschenberg. Express," Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid 

2007    "Nothing and everything," Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA 

2007    "Robert Rauschenberg: Cardboards and Related Pieces," The Menil Collection, Houston, TX 

2007    "Robert Rauschenberg," Moderna Museet, Stockholm 

2006    "Robert Rauschenberg," Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris 

2006    "Robert Rauschenberg," Gallery Hyundai, Seoul 

2006    "Robert Rauschenberg," MOCA THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY, Los Angeles, CA; MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 

2006    "Robert Rauschenberg: Spread and Scale," Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zurich 

2006    "Art from Life: Prints by Robert Rauschenberg," Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA 

2006    "Focus Room. Robert Rauschenberg," Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England 

2006    "Robert Rauschenberg: Scenarios and Short Stories," Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, GA 

2006    "Rauschenberg: Prints," Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York, NY 

2005    "Rauschenberg - Rosenquist - Lichtenstein," Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, England 

2005    "Robert Rauschenberg," Galerie Terminus, Munich 

2005    "Dialogues: Duchamp, Cornell, Johns, Rauschenberg," Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX 

2005    "Robert Rauschenberg: on and off the wall," MUSÉE D'ART MODERNE ET D'ART CONTEMPORAIN-NICE, Nice 

2005    "Combines" organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

2004    "Robert Rauschenberg: Current Scenarios," Wadsworth Museum of Art, Hartford 

2004    "Mostly Photography - Art since 1980 from the Collection," Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA 

2004    "What´s modern?" Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY 

2004    "Made in USA popart," Galerie Laurent Strouk, Paris 

2004    "Robert Rauschenberg," Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, England 

2004    "15 Minutes of Fame: 20 Years of Pop Prints," National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC 

2004    "Robert Rauschenberg," John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA 

2003    "Popular, Pop & Post-Pop: Color Screenprints 1930s to Now," Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA 

 2003    "Robert Rauschenberg - Prints & Unique Work," Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York, NY 

 2002    "X-LARGE - Borofsky, Burden, Johns, Kelly, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Serra, Ste," Brooke Alexander Editions, New York, NY 

 2002    "An American Legacy, A Gift to New York," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 

2002    "Robert Rauschenberg - Les dix dernières années," Musée Maillol - Fondation Dina Vierny, Paris 

2002    "Robert Rauschenberg - Short Stories," Waddington Galleries, London (England) 

2002    "Robert Rauschenberg: Recent Work," The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

2001    "Modernism & Abstraction: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA 

2001    "ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG - RUMINATIONS," völcker & freunde gallery, Berlin 

2001    "Robert Rauschenberg: Marrakech," La Caja Negra, Madrid 

2001    "Robert Rauschenberg: Short Stories," Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zurich 

2000    "Robert Rauschenberg - Darryl Pottorf," Galerie Tanit, Munich 

2000    "Robert Rauschenberg - Synapsis Shuffle," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 

2000    "Highlights of Late 20th-Century Art from the Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection," Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA 

1999    "Robert Rauschenberg - Malerei," Galleri Faurschou, Copenhagen 

1999    "Robert Rauschenberg - Obra gráfica (1967-1979)," Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca 

1999    "Robert Rauschenberg - The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece," Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA 

1999    "Robert Rauschenberg - Photographs," Galleria Rubin, Milano 

1998    "Robert Rauschenberg. Obra gráfica 1967-1979," Museu d'Art Espanyol Contemporani (Fundación Juan March), Palma de Mallorca 

1998    "Robert Rauschenberg - Retrospectiva," Museo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, Bilbao 

1998    "Robert Rauschenberg - Anagrams (A Pun)," Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zurich 

1997    Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in collaboration with the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, exhibition travels to the Museum Ludwig, Cologne and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao 

1990    Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

1987    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

1963    First retrospective organized by the Jewish Museum, New York 

1951    First solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons gallery, New York 

Works by Robert Rauschenberg are in all major museums including: Addison Gallery of American Art; Albright Knox Art Gallery; Brooklyn Museum of ArtCarnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie ; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Cleveland Museum of ArtCorcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Frederick R Weisman Art Museum; Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel;   Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art;   Museum of Modern Art, Forth Worth; National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Rose Art MuseumTate Gallery, London; The Museum of Modern Art; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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