One of Rauschenberg’s most recognisable and powerful works, Bed is a deeply personal piece. Reflecting his firm belief that painting could bridge the gap between life and art, it is a self-portrait of sorts, incorporating the artist’s own well-worn bedclothes, splashed with paint and drawn over with pencil, into a composition that was one of his first to include everyday objects.
191.1 x 80 x 20.3 cm
Date of work
Original: Combine: oil and pencil on pillow, quilt, and sheet, mounted on wood support 191.1 x 80 x 20.3 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Leo Castelli in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 1989 © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
One of the most influential figures of twentieth-century art, Robert Rauschenberg was a pioneering artist who ultimately challenged perceptions of what art could be. Born in Texas in 1925 he later moved to New York, where he created many of his best-known works. Endlessly curious and inventive, his work ranged from painting and sculpture to performance and dance. His refusal to accept existing boundaries of what was considered art led him to continually experiment with new techniques, from innovative printing methods to incorporating found objects and detritus in his works. This radical approach prefigured pop art and inspired generations of conceptual artists in the decades that followed.