Robert Rauschenberg biography, work, photos

Starting his career as a representative abstract expressionism Rauschenberg came to his work to pop art and conceptualism. This artist is one of the key figures of American art.

Early years

Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur in 1925. But not in the Chinese port city, and in the American steppe Texas. his Father was a German immigrant and worked at the local power plant, the mother – an Indian tribe, the Cherokee. After school, the future artist studied pharmacology in his native Texas in Austin. However, quit school in the first year, and the war was this only a pretext. During this time he worked as an orderly in a mental hospital.

creative ways

At 21, Rauschenberg decided to study art. First, he attends the Art Institute in Kansas city, then went to Paris. Here he engaged in the French Art académie Julian, where he met his future wife Susan Wall, is also an artist. Disappointed at the French school, in 1948, the young men returned to America, to College black mountain in South Carolina. At this time here has gathered “star” composition: the artist Josef Albers, choreographer Merce Cunningham, composer John cage. With the last two Robert Rauschenberg working on a “Theater piece No. 1”. It involved dance, music, work with projector. The statement is considered to be the forerunner of the “happenings” – staged conceptual events that gained popularity towards the end of the twentieth century. The first years after College, the artist worked window dressing in new York.


Monochrome painting

early In his career, artist Robert Rauschenberg produced several series of monochrome paintings: "white paintings", "black paintings” and “red painting”.
"white paintings" on a white background, the artist painted black letters, numbers, and other friendly characters. The work was created at a time when the dominant style in America was abstract expressionism. Introducing into the painting comprehensible symbols and the real thing, Rauschenberg destroyed the very abstractness of abstract art. In the General cultural context it looked pretty safe. Later the artist will be another direction of the white painting. At illuminated white background cast shadows of the audience, actually creating the artwork. Here overlapped with a lot of meaning and infinite variation of art and perception of it through the prism of individual experience, and the inevitable co-creation of the artist and the viewer.


"Black paintings" was a canvas with the pasted on it with Newspapers, covered with black enamel. For «red painting” the artist used newspaper scraps, nails, rope and other debris.
In 1951 at the Betty Parsons gallery exhibited their work Robert Rauschenberg. The paintings were universally panned by critics immediately. It seemed to be a complete failure. In 1952 the artist left his wife, unable to bear his openly bisexual orientation and free behavior. After a year Robert Rauschenberg continued to work with the choreographer Kanningem. More than ten years he created for his company sets, costumes, participated in the creation of scenarios.


Erased De Kooning

This work was one of the key works Rauschenberg. In 1953, the artist bought graphic work by famous abstract artist De Kooning. Instead hang a picture frame above the sofa in the living room, Rauschenberg erased it and called it "Erased De Kooning drawing”. Thus, he secured the copyright, and has created not only new artwork, and new artwork format. Rauschenberg here anticipates postmodernism, with its citation, co-authorship and the imposition of meanings. After this painting of a young artist began to speak.

Combined picture

Rauschenberg was one of the originators of the phenomenon of the pop art style. Here as objects of art and their elements used ordinary household items. In the framework of the “combined paintings” the artist has combined the most mundane things, turning them into objects of art. Incidentally, it was not only paintings in the strict sense of the word, but also installations, art objects and assemblages. Even more clearly the style of pop art is evident in the later works of Rauschenberg, when the artist began to use the symbols of American pop culture and life in their ‘bills of drawings”, although here he appears in his ironic, but in General a positive attitude towards the world.
One of the most famous ‘combination of paintings” is called “Bed”, it was established in 1956. The picture was a spring mattress of the artist, upright and thoroughly smeared with paint, which was typical of abstract expressionism. I must say that this style was the first national American for the world level, so he had a local avant-garde sacred hue. Here the same technique of abstract expressionism was used with a big dose of irony when applied thick layer of paint on a conventional mattress, suddenly find themselves a work of art.

International recognition

In 1958 in the gallery Leo Castelli opened his personal exhibition of Robert Rauschenberg. His work at this time, the lovers were perceived favorably. We can say that from that moment began the worldwide fame of the artist. In the early 60-ies he began to create “decals figures”. They were a mirrored collages from Newspapers and photographs which the artist placed on a white background. According to the author, here, had to face popular symbols of American culture with elements of art paintings.
In 1964, the artist presented the main prize Venice Biennale. Despite the fact that the degradation of the culture after the event expressed even the Vatican, the style of pop art was now officially recognized. Rauschenberg was rewarded not only morally but also financially: the price of his paintings are instantly increased by several times.

Experiments with technology

In the 60s, Rauschenberg created a joint project with the engineer Clovera: public Association "Experiments in art and technology”. During this time he worked on the mills-"revolvers" of the plexiglass with glass blades, which symbolized the wealth of information in the modern world. In 1969 the artist received an invitation from the space research centre NASA, and then created a series of lithographs «Petrified moon”. In 1970, Rauschenberg opened a charity organization for poor artists, and also built his home-Studio near the coast of Florida on Captiva island. Here he died in the spring of 2008. In his last period of creativity of the master never created anything stylistically new, and continue to work on collages.
Together with Andy Warhol Rauschenberg was among the five most important pop art artists. It is hardly possible to overestimate its influence on modern American art.