Robert Rauschenberg

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Robert

Rauschenberg

Port Arthur, Texas
<p>Image: Rauschenberg, High school portrait, 1943. Port Arthur, Texas, spring 1943 © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.</p>

Robert Rauschenberg was born Milton Earnest Rauschenberg in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1925. Displaying an early interest in the arts, young Rauschenberg decorated his room, drawing images on the walls and painting designs on the furniture. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, where he was a costume and set designer for the school theater.

Image: Rauschenberg, High school portrait, 1943. Port Arthur, Texas, spring 1943 © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

San Diego, California
<p>Image: Rauschenberg in his U.S. Navy uniform, ca. 1944.&nbsp; © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.</p>

Robert Rauschenberg continued to explore his passion for art after joining the Navy and being assigned the position of neuropsychiatric technician in the Navy Hospital Corps at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California. While stationed at Camp Pendleton he visited Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino which inspired him to pursue actively visual art.

Image: Rauschenberg in his U.S. Navy uniform, ca. 1944.  © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Paris, France
<p>Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors</p>

In 1948, Robert Rauschenberg left to study art at the Académie Julian in Paris. There he met Susan Weil, an art student from New York who would become his wife. The pair became fast friends, wandering Paris to sketch and explore, before deciding to enroll at Black Mountain College.

Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors

Asheville, North Carolina: BMC
<p>Image: Rauschenberg at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, ca. 1951 Photo by Cy Twombly. Courtesy Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio. © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.</p>

Robert Rauschenberg arrived at Black Mountain College for the 1948 and 1949 academic years. Josef Albers was a particularly influential teacher, teaching Rauschenberg not only to be disciplined about his work, but also to gain a nuanced understanding of color and material. Rauschenberg returned for the summers of 1951 and 1952. He came into contact with John Cage, experimented with photography and made some of his most important early paintings, including Untitled (Night Blooming) and White Painting.

Image: Rauschenberg at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, ca. 1951 Photo by Cy Twombly. Courtesy Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio. © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

New York, New York

While enrolled at Black Mountain College Rauschenberg approached the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York with his White Paintings. Parsons was a leading dealer of American vanguard artists, exhibiting the work of Adolph Gottlieb, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko among others. At twenty-five, and virtually unknown, Rauschenberg had his first one-man show at Parsons in 1951. Two years later, he developed some of the ideas behind his White Paintings when he created the work Erased de Kooning, which was born out of a collaboration with Rauchenberg's Black Mountain College colleague Willem de Kooning. Rauschenberg became and important figure in the New York art scene in the 1950s and ‘60s, expanding his practice to include performance, choreography, set design, and sculpture.

Video: Robert Rauschenberg - "Erased De Kooning" youtube.com/watch?v=tpCWh3IFtDQ

Captiva Island, Florida
<p>Image: Rauschenberg in front of the Fish House, Captiva, Florida, 1979. Photo by Terry Van Brunt. © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.</p>

In 1970, Rauschenberg moved to Captiva Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico near Fort Myers, Florida. There he established the experimental print workshop Untitled Press, Inc., to which he regularly invited other artists. Rauschenberg continued to work on Captiva Island, until the end of his life in 2008.

Image: Rauschenberg in front of the Fish House, Captiva, Florida, 1979. Photo by Terry Van Brunt. © 2014 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.