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Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008) was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925. He attended the University of Texas in Austin where he studied pharmacology, dropping out shortly after as he was drafted to the United States Navy in 1944. He served as a neuropsychiatric technician in a Navy hospital until his discharge in 1946. He went on to study at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1948, Rauschenberg enrolled at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Here he studied under Josef Albers, taking his preliminary design courses, and experimenting with a variety of artistic mediums, of which his work often features a combination.
He had his first solo exhibition in 1951 at Betty Parsons Gallery, and sold his first collages and sculptures including the Scatole Personali and Feticci Personali at galleries in Rome and Florence in 1953. Later that year Eleanor Ward invited him to participate in her exhibition at the Stable Gallery. In 1954 he exhibited solo at the Charles Egan Gallery, where he presented his famous Red Paintings. At this time, Rauschenberg refocused his efforts on sculpture, and in 1961 he was invited to participate in an exhibition at the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris, where his telegram was showcased as experimental portraiture. Rauschenberg began to experiment with a silkscreeen process, causing critics to associate this series with Pop art.
In the 1990s a retrospective was held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1997) which traveled to museums in Houston, Cologne and Bilbao through 1999. He was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and Moderna Museet, Stockholm through until 2007. There was a posthumous retrospective held at the Tate Modern in 2016, which toured to MoMa in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through 2017.