Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Spindlegrip (Urban Bourbon)’, 1988, Sotheby's: Contemporary Art Day Auction

Each: 120 3/4 by 48 3/8 in. (306.7 by 122.9 cm.)
Overall: 120 3/4 by 96 3/4 in. (306.7 by 245.8 cm.)

From the Catalogue

"Over and over again I've found it impossible to memorize Rauschenberg's paintings. I keep asking, 'Have you changed it?' And then noticing while I'm looking it changes." —John Cage in Braden W. Joseph, Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-avant-garde, Cambridge 2003, p. 158

Courtesy of Sotheby's

Signature: signed and dated 88 on the right panel

Basel, Swiss Industries Fair, The 20th Annual International Art Fair, June 1989
New York, Knoedler & Company, September Selections, August - September 2000

Private Collection, Chicago
Knoedler & Company Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in March 2004

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