Estate

Robert Rauschenberg, American, 1925 - 2008

Geography:
Made in United States, North and Central America

Date:
1963

Medium:
Oil and screenprinted inks on canvas

Dimensions:
8 feet × 69 13/16 inches (243.8 × 177.3 cm) Framed: 8 feet 2 3/4 inches × 6 feet 1 inches × 3 inches (250.8 × 185.4 × 7.6 cm)

Copyright:
Art © Estate of Robert Rauschenberg/Used with permission of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1967-88-1

Credit Line:
Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1967


A replica of this work is featured in Inside Out, a series of outdoor exhibitions throughout the region.

 

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Label:
Robert Rauschenberg was among the first American artists to combine found images using the silkscreen process, a technique in which a design is imposed on a specially prepared fine-mesh screen (with the blank areas coated with an impermeable substance) and then transferred onto paper or canvas by pushing paint or ink through the screen. Beginning in the early 1960s, the artist applied newspaper photographs, art reproductions, and his own snapshots to canvas, thereby exploiting the wealth of mass media source material, from the banal and personal to the monumental and public. Estate presents complex combinations of such disparate images as the Statue of Liberty, Michelangelo's painting Last Judgment, a 1962 rocket launch, and a glass of water. It draws its power from the tension between photography and painting. Seemingly spontaneous splashes of paint recall the vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism while unifying this incongruent inventory of images.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art Handbook (2014 Edition)

    Robert Rauschenberg’s painting assemblages of the mid-1950s, which he called “combines” to evoke their confounding of the limits of painting and sculpture, were followed in the early 1960s by works such as this, which feature layered and repeated silkscreened images on what have been called “flatbed” picture planes. As one of the most significant, inventive, and spirited artists of the postwar period, Rauschenberg was among the first American artists to combine found images using the silkscreen process, a technique in which a picture is grafted onto a specially prepared fine-mesh screen (with the blank areas coated with an impermeable substance) and then transferred onto paper or canvas by pushing paint or ink through the screen. Incorporating imagery culled from, among other sources, newspapers, art reproductions, and his own photographs, Rauschenberg’s work of this period is both evocative of particular places and moments, and aleatoric in its lively, dynamic compositions. Like Pop art, which emerged in the early 1960s in the United States and mined mass culture for imagery, appropriation, and critique, Rauschenberg’s silkscreens evoke the era in which all categories of culture coexisted in a reality increasingly mediated by television, radio, and advertising. Here he has presented complex combinations of disparate images, including the Statue of Liberty, Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, a 1962 rocket launch, and a glass of water. The tension between the detailed silkscreened pictures and the gestural, seemingly spontaneous splashes of paint give energy to this incongruent inventory of images. Erica F. Battle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014, pp. 360–361.