Robert Rauschenberg

Date/place of birth

Oktober 22, 1925, Port Arthur, Texas, United States

Day/place of death

May 12, 2008, Captiva, Florida, United States

Robert Rauschenberg - Untitled (Shade)
Robert Rauschenberg - Untitled (Shade)

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Robert Rauschenberg biography

Robert Rauschenberg brought together that what actually did not belong together, and became one of the most influential artists of modernism with his daring combinations and constructions. The American transferred Abstract Modernism into the new currents of the 20th century.

Robert Rauschenberg – Study with Josef Albers, pictures in White, Black and Red

Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur in the state of Texas on 22 October 1925. His grandfather was originally from Berlin and married a Cherokee Indian, which the artist liked to allude to with a wink. Rauschenberg first came into contact with art in school and went on to study at Kansas City Art Institute, the Académie Julian in Paris, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina where he was influenced above all by the colour field theory of the German painter and art theorist Josef Albers. The German Fluxus artist Joseph Beuys and the Dutch American Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning served as further points of reference and role models. The relationship with his teacher Albers was not free of stress – his severity and discipline often prompted Robert Rauschenberg to do exactly the opposite of what was demanded, and so the White, Black and Red paintings emerged as a stubborn interpretation of Alber’s colour theory. For many experts and critics, these monochrome panels remain the most radical work in Robert Rauschenberg’s oeuvre.

Breakthrough at the Venice Biennale, travels and performances

Robert Rauschenberg received awards and honours for his work early on in his career, with the International Prize for Painting at the 1964 Venice Biennale marking his breakthrough as an artist. With his Combine Paintings, three-dimensional collages of pictures and objects from everyday life, he became one of the trailblazers of Pop Art, although his extensive oeuvre can by no means be entirely categorised to this type - outstanding works include Door and Bed, created in the 1950s. Rauschenberg often worked with Merce Cunningham and John Cage on his art actions, artists he had met during his studies. These were mostly theatre performances and Happenings for which he designed props, stage sets and costumes, and often stood on stage himself as a participant. The painter Jasper Johns also counted amongst his close friends and inspirational role models. He travelled many times to Africa and Europe, in particular Paris, where he conducted performance with Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle. 

Art as an ongoing process without concept and definitive goal

Robert Rauschenberg experimented with various traditions, trends and materials. The artist combined apparent opposites in his sculptures and collages, consciously taking care to leave the utilised components untouched and not to alienate them. Art was created not through the processing, but the combination with other items in which he was concerned with the merging of the real world with the creative world of art in order to gain a new view and a deeper understanding of realities. He believed an artwork was more real when he had constructed it from elements of the real world, although he never viewed it as a closed process. A public work of art was also an artwork in progress which continued to develop through its confrontation with the audience. Robert Rauschenberg participated four times in documenta in Kassel and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Robert Rauschenberg died on 12 My 2008 on Captiva Island in the US state of Florida. 

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Robert Rauschenberg Prices

Robert RauschenbergUntitled (Shade)€74.400
Robert RauschenbergCock Sure€34.160
Robert RauschenbergSigns€29.760
Robert RauschenbergSuite of Nine Prints€24.990
Gerhard Richter Sol LeWitt Robert Rauschenberg Ed Ruscha PortfolioOctober Portfolio Two€18.750
Robert RauschenbergSling-shots Lit # 8 (Black State)€10.200

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