Robert Rauschenberg, American artist, died May 12 at the age of 82. Rauschenberg is considered by many to be one of American’s most influential artists and he was instrumental in the transition from the Abstract Expressionism movement of the late 1950s to the Pop Art movement of the early 1960s. Rauschenberg is most famous for his series of “Combines” in which he employed non-traditional materials and objects in very unusual ways. Rauschenberg was known for collecting interesting pieces of trash on his walks through New York City for use in his works. His “Combines” are considered both painting and sculpture.
Rauschenberg’s formal art training is nearly as impressive as his storied career. Born in Port Arthur, Texas, he attended art school at the legendary Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina where he studied under the rigorous teachings of famous Bauhaus artist Josef Albers. Rauschenberg also studied art with New York School artists Franz Kline and Jack Twokov as well as photographer Aaron Siskind. He met John Cage and learned about performance and its link to mulit-media art which would become an important part of his later works. Besides his works of art, Rauschenberg will also be well remembered for his fearless experimentation and unending innovation.