Robert Rauschenberg, American, 1925 - 2008
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.