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.