Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Cardbird V’, 1971, Gilden's Art Gallery

This original work is hand signed in black felt-tip pen by the artist "Rauschenberg" verso and dated “71” (1971) next to the signature.
It is also numbered in black felt pen "35/75" on the verso.
It is from the series “Cardbirds” produced between 1970 and 1971.
The work was published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles in a limited edition of 75 signed and numbered impressions in 1971. There were also six artist’s proofs.
It bears the Gemini G.E.L stamp, verso.

Note: Rauschenberg’s works from the 1970s reflect his incessant experimentation with new materials. Where the 1960s were dominated by repetitive mass media imagery, the 1970s reveal a focus on natural fibres, a simplification of the artist’s materials to incorporate fabric, cardboard and other natural elements such as mud, rope and handmade paper. The catalyst for this dramatic change in both subject matter and material can be explained by a change in Rauschenberg’s physical environment – his decision to move from New York City to Captiva Island, Florida, had a profound effect on the appearance of his work.
With no city to offer up its detritus, the artist turned to the things that surrounded him in his new environment and the move had yielded numerous cardboard boxes. Rauschenberg has suggested that his choice of cardboard as a new material was the result of ‘a desire … to work in a material of waste and softness. Something yielding with its only message a collection of lines imprinted like a friendly joke. A silent discussion of their history exposed by their new shapes’.9 The Cardbird series of 1971 is a tongue-in-cheek visual joke, a printed mimic of cardboard constructions. The labour intensive process involved in the creation of the series remains invisible to the viewer – the artist created a prototype cardboard construction which was then photographed and the image transferred to a lithographic press and printed before a final lamination onto cardboard backing. The extreme complexity of construction belies the banality of the series and, in this way, Rauschenberg references both Pop’s Brillo boxes by Andy Warhol and Minimalist boxes such as those by Donald Judd. By selecting the most mundane of materials, Rauschenberg once again succeeds in a glamorous makeover of the most ordinary of objects. This is an exploration of a new order of materials, a radical scrambling of the material hierarchy of modernism.

Literature: Robert Rauschenberg: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1966–2005. Los Angeles: Gemini G.E.L.
Reference: Gemini 307

Condition: Very good condition. A 10 mm. tear at the right sheet edge. Two areas of staining in the lower cardboard element. Creasing at the sheet edges.

About Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg’s enthusiasm for popular culture and, with his contemporary Jasper Johns, his rejection of the angst and seriousness of the Abstract Expressionists led him to search for a new way of painting. A prolific innovator of techniques and mediums, he used unconventional art materials ranging from dirt and house paint to umbrellas and car tires. In the early 1950s, Rauschenberg was already gaining a reputation as the art world’s enfant terrible with works such as Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), for which he requested a drawing (as well as permission) from Willem de Kooning, and proceeded to rub away the image until only ghostly marks remained on the paper. By 1954, Rauschenberg completed his first three-dimensional collage paintings—he called them Combines—in which he incorporated discarded materials and mundane objects to explore the intersection of art and life. “I think a picture is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world,” he said. In 1964 he became the first American to win the International Grand Prize in Painting at the Venice Biennale. The 1/4 Mile or Two Furlong Piece (1981–98), a cumulative artwork, embodies his spirit of eclecticism, comprising a retrospective overview of his many discrete periods, including painting, fabric collage, sculptural components made from cardboard and scrap metal, as well as a variety of image transfer and printing methods.

American, 1925-2008, Port Arthur, Texas, based in New York and Captiva Island, Florida