Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)
Solvent transfer, graphite pencil, collage, transparent and opaque watercolor, and oil pastel on paper. The artist requests the work be called a "combine drawing."
Sheet: 24 1/4 × 36 1/8 in. (61.6 × 91.8 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. B. H. Friedman
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Robert Rauschenberg/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Untitled (1958) belongs to a group of transfer drawings that Robert Rauschenberg made between 1958 and 1962 by wetting magazine pages in a solvent, then rubbing the back of the page with a pencil to transfer the printed ink from the original sheet onto the surface of the drawing. This process allowed him to import mass-media images—including reproductions of athletes, political figures, buildings, body parts, birds, words, and diagrams—directly from their sources. Rauschenberg’s interest in photographic appropriation subsequently led him to pursue the technique of silkscreening, which allowed him to enlarge imagery and reuse images in different contexts. In the case of both the transfer drawings and the silkscreens that followed, Rauschenberg typically treated his canvas and paper supports as a kind of receptacle—a flat surface that eschewed the traditional conception of painting as a window onto the world.