Charlene, created in 1954, is one of the artist’s most celebrated pieces. A mixture of painting and found objects, it is among Rauschenberg’s earliest ‘Combines’ – a term he used to describe his technique of incorporating everyday items into vast three dimensional compositions. When it was first exhibited in December 1954 in New York, its raw, enigmatic energy shook the art world.
225 x 321 x 115 cm
Date of work
Original: Combine: oil, charcoal, paper, fabric, newspaper, wood, plastic, mirror, and metal on four Homasote panels, mounted on wood with electric light 225 x 321 x 115 cm Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam © 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.