Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Untitled (Elemental Sculpture)’, Christie's

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)

Untitled (Elemental Sculpture)

wood box with metal, twine and stone

2 3/4 x 3 x 4 1/4 in. (6.9 x 7.6 x 10.8 cm.)

Executed circa 1953.

Signature: Untitled (Elemental Sculpture)

Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art; Houston, The Menil Collection; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Robert Rauschenberg: The Early 1950s, June 1991-January 1993, p. 184, no. 111 (illustrated).

Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Houston, Menil Collection; New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Mito, Art Tower and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rolywholy Over a Circus, September 1993-August 1995.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Robert Rauschenberg: Sculpture, October 1995-June 1996, pp. 64 and 89, nos. 54 and 71.

Dallas Museum of Art, Dialogues: Duchamp, Cornell, Johns, Rauschenberg, September 2005-January 2006, p. 47, no. 38 (illustrated in color).

New York, Craig F. Starr Galley, Robert Rauschenberg: The Fulton Street Studio, 1953-54, April-May 2014.

The Estate of Ileana Sonnabend, acquired directly from the artist

By descent from the above to the present owner

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