Rauschenberg joined Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the autumn of 1948. He encountered many of his future collaborators and life-long friends here, including the choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage; the three returned to the college in 1952 and worked together on experimental performances. It was around this time that Rauschenberg became fascinated with the process of photography, creating a series of intimate and subtle portraits.
Untitled (John Cage, Black Mountain)
37.5 x 37.5 cm
Date of work
Original: Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper 37.5 x 37.5 cm The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, USA) © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/ DACS
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.