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Robert Rauschenberg Prints

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Born Milton Raushenberg on 22nd October 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas, Robert Raushenberg started his studies in pharmacology before being drafted into the US Navy. His duty to his country done he enrolled in 1947 at the Kansas City Art Institute, moving to France the next year to study at the Académie Julian in Paris.

Moving back to the USA he studied under Josef Albers in North Carolina. While there he met Merce Cunningham and John Cage who he was later to collaborate with, moving to New York he was offered his first solo exhibition. His works at that time included monochromatic white paintings, black paintings and blueprints.

In late 1952 he travelled to Europe and on to North Africa, at this time he worked on small collages, small boxes with found elements and hanging assemblages. These exhibited in Rome and Florence.

Once back in New York he started working on sculptures made from natural materials found on the street. His paintings were made from dust, tissue paper and sometimes gold leaf. He began the series later known as Columbines. Works that were made from natural items and even stuffed animals, a quilt and pillow and street signs. Together with Jasper Johns he was setting the scene for the POP art of the 60’s.

From the mid 50’s to the mid 60’s he did costume and stage design for Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New York, while also in the early sixties he was experimenting with silk screen printing and was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the 1964 Venice Biennale.In
1966 together will Billy Kluver he founded Experiments in Art and Technology. A non-profit organisation promoting art and technology collaborative works. In 1970 he founded Change another non-profit organisation, this time to help with emergency expenses for artists in need.

He acquired a large piece of Captiva island, Florida, He wanted it to be a nature preserve as well as where he worked. From There he produced dramatically sized pieces made of silk screen printing, newspapers, cardboard and used boxes. These works range from 16.5 meters long to a series of wall reliefs, the one made from used boxes.

In 1977 he reconnected with Cunningham and Cage after a 13year brake, when the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performed Travelogue, for which he again created the costume and set design.

IN 1980 he shifted to using only his own photographs after settling a copyright claim against him over use of an advertisement. This return to photography led to exhibitions in Paris and Florida which also featured his black and White works from the 50’s.In 1981 he returned to his larger works when he created the ¼ Mile or Two-Furlong Piece. Conceived to be the longest ever artwork it actually exceeded its name.

His ever changing perspective on art and all its facets along with his innovative ideas live on today. He paved the way for the pop art of the 60’s his use of non-traditional materials and the way he blurred the lines between art and objects made him an artist of many talents. Rauschenberg died in Captiva Island, Florida, on May 12, 2008.

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