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Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg was a prominent member of the American post-war avant-garde. Known for his sculpture-painting hybrids called Combines, Rauschenberg broke through the two dimensionality of the canvas at a time when Abstract Expressionism dominated the artistic conversation. His seminal Conceptual work, Erased de Kooning (1953), consisted of ritualistically destroying an original drawing by the famed AbEx master, demonstrating an irreverent humor and the lasting influence of Marcel Duchamp on his practice. Rauschenberg, along with his friend and lover Jasper Johns, created work that was considered Neo-Dada and foresaw the emergence of Pop Art in his use of commercial and Americana imagery and objects. Born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg on October 22, 1925 in Port Arthur, TX, he studied at the famed Black Mountain College, where he met future collaborators John Cage and Merce Cunningham, and later at the Art Students League of New York, where he befriended Cy Twombly. He continued to experiment with found materials in his painting and printmaking through his career, and died on May 12, 2008 in Captiva, FL at the age of 82.