Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg
Windward, 1963
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Robert Rauschenberg
Windward, 1963

Oil and silkscreen ink on canvas, 244 x 178 cm
Photo: Cantz Medienmanagement, Ostfildern

Rauschenberg’s silkscreens realized between 1962 to 1964 are now perhaps his most famous works. In the manner of a collage, the artist assembled images and details of images from a variety of sources. He then overpainted certain parts of the picture by hand at furious speed, thereby allying the gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism with Pop Art aesthetics in the style of Andy Warhol. In Windward Rauschenberg combines photographs of the Statue of Liberty with shots of New York house façades, confronting these with images showing the election of the Pope in the Sistine Chapel and crates of oranges. The composition is dominated by the deeply iconic figure of the eagle. In what appears to be a random arrangement, the artist fosters an enigmatic and richly associative dialogue between the various juxtaposed pictorial worlds which defies any attempt at aesthetic categorization.

Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg

1925, Port Arthur, Texas – 2008, Captiva Island, Florida

When the Second World War ended, the American printmaker, painter, photographer and sculptor decided not to resume his pharmaceutical studies in Texas but instead devoted himself to the study of art history, sculpture and music at the Kansas City Art Institute. A period at the Académie Julien in Paris in 1948 was followed by a year of intense studies under Josef Albers at the Black Mountain College in California, where he became friends with the choreographer Merce Cunningham and the composer John Cage. Rauschenberg is cited as an important forerunner of American Pop Art and as a leading exponent of Abstract Expressionism. The principle of incorporating non-traditional materials and objects into his works – a characteristic feature of his later ‘Combine paintings’ – evolved from his early collages. From the 1960s onwards, in addition to numerous collages, Rauschenberg made series of silkscreen paintings, developed multimedia shows and produced lithographs in collaboration with Billy Klüver.

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