Horsefeathers Thirteen-XI, 1972
Signed, dated and numbered Lower Left
22 1/8 x 29 ¾ inches (56.2 x 75.6 cm.)
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American painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg pioneered the use of nontraditional materials in the creation of artwork, incorporating three-dimensional everyday objects and printed matter such as photographs and newspaper excerpts. Those highly-acclaimed and disruptive ‘Combines’ resulted in the progressive blend of painting and sculpture, questioning the distinction between fine art and readymade objects. Although primarily a painter and sculptor, Robert also worked with printmaking, photography and performance throughout his six-decade spanning career. To him we owe the foundations of what would be later called conceptual art, based on his ‘Neo-Dadaist’ belief that it was at the artist’s own discretion to define art.
Part of the Horsefeathers series, this piece blends an eclectic range of densely juxtaposed images, methods and materials, at the heart of Rauschenberg’s pioneering artistic practice. Although each image seems to be numbered, no sense of hierarchy emanates from them, rather appearing as a blend of action shots in ‘random order’. The artist’s pieces remained a far-reaching influence for later modern artists, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, well beyond his lifetime.