What Sold at Art Basel in Hong Kong
Historic provenance! From the collection of legendary art dealer Ileana Sonnabend - wife of Leo Castelli. "Installation Drawing for Monogram" is a sketch of one of Robert Rauschenberg's most significant pieces - "Monogram" - from his famous Combine series. In 2006, the Centre Pompidou in Paris held the very first retrospective devoted exclusively to Rauschenberg's Combine period, which it referred to as the artist's essential creative phase and the beginning of his international artistic influence. The exhibition catalogue describes the series, as well as Monogram, as follows: "As the name suggests, the Combines are hybrid works that associate painting with collage and assemblage of a wide range of objects taken from everyday life. Neither paintings nor sculptures, but both at once, Rauschenberg’s Combines invade the viewers’ space, demanding their attention, like veritable visual puzzles. From stuffed birds to Coca-Cola bottles, from newspaper to press photos, fabric, wallpaper, doors and windows, it is as though the whole universe enters into his combinatorial process to join forces with paint. A friend of John Cage, Rauschenberg also took an interest in sound, and in his later Combines, he developed analogies between music and visual arts. Through his affinity with Merce Cunningam and dance, some of his works became stage décors......Monogram is one of the most famous Combines, which Rauschenberg reworked several times before achieving the final version. It is an incongruous association, on a sort of abstract painting placed horizontally, of an angora goat with a paint-daubed snout and a car tyre around its middle, and various collages ranging from a tennis ball to printed papers. title Monogram renders this montage even more enigmatic: Monogram, or the interlacing of several letters to form a single character, composed here of the entanglement of the goat and the tyre. Thus the letter O passes around the animal to make a knot as a rebellion against meaning and all ideas of beauty. The Ready-made (tyre) and stuffed animal coexist in this work that, in keeping with the artist’s wishes, leaves as much place for the viewer as for the artist....." This lithograph with silkscreen is rarely seen at public auction, because so many of the artists prints from the portfolios, as well as the complete portfolios, are in major museum and public collections around the world - like MOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Museum, Moderna Museet, the Walker Art Center - to name only a few. Unframed and in mint condition; held in the original portfolio sleeve. This will be the first time the work has been removed from the mahogany box that housed the portfolio in the Sonnabend/Castelli collection. Rare especially in fine condition in the original portfolio sleeve with the artist's name in block letters on Crane's No. 1 bond paper - and with such impressive provenance.
Signature: Signed; numbered and dated by Robert Rauschenberg in graphite, recto, lower left stamped and dated Copyright Robert Rauschenberg 1973 verso stamped Printed at Styria Studio verso
Publisher: Experiments in Art and Technology New York; Printed by Julie Martin, pub.
Leo Castelli exhibition of New York for Stockholm Portfolio to benefit Moderna Museet
Walker Art Center Leo Castelli Gallery Brooklyn Museum Pop Impressions Europe/USA, Museum of Modern Art and dozens of other venues
Collection of Ileana Sonabend (wife of legendary dealer Leo Castelli, and pioneering art dealer in her own right) and the Estate of their daughter Nina Castelli Sundell.
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
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