Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Wolf Wood (Urban Bourbon series)’, Christie's

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)

Wolf Wood (Urban Bourbon series)

signed and dated 'Rauschenberg 91' (lower left)

acrylic on enameled aluminum

96 x 48 1/4 in. (243.8 x 122.5 cm.)

Executed in 1991.

Signature: signed and dated 'Rauschenberg 91' (lower left)

Raleigh, City Gallery of Contemporary Art, Robert Rauschenberg 1974-1991: Animals and Other Themes, September-October 1991, n.p. (illustrated).

Basel, Galerie Beyeler; Charlottenlund, Ordrupgaard Samlingen, Robert Rauschenberg: Night Shades and Urban Bourbons, March-December 1995, n.p.

Pace Wildenstein, New York

Private collection

Anon. sale; Phillips de Pury and Company, London, 29 June 2009, lot 16

Acquired at the above sale by 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