The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Will Publish a 10-Volume Catalogue Raisonné on the Artist Over the Next Two Decades

The project will focus exclusively on the artist's paintings and sculptures.

American artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925 - 2008) during an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, March 1977. Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has announced plans to produce a catalogue raisonné dedicated to the late artist. One of America’s most prolific and protean artists, Robert Rauschenberg was not limited to one specific artistic movement or medium, in fact he is best known for his “Combines,” a term he invented to describe an inventive hybridization of sculpture and painting to make assemblage works that could be either freestanding or hung on a wall.

The Robert Rauschenberg catalogue raisonné will be free to the public and available exclusively online—a break from the traditional bulky and expensive catalogues that serve as the official documentation of an artist’s entire oeuvre. The Rauschenberg catalogue will only cover the artist’s paintings and sculptures (including the “Combines”), but will not extend to his drawings, prints, or other works on paper.

An employee poses with an artwork by American painter Robert Rauschenberg entitled Transom, during a photocall ahead of the Post-War and Contemporary art sale at Christie's London on March 3, 2017. Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images.

Robert Rauschenberg’s Transom, at Christie’s London. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images.

The catalogue will be published in multiple volumes and released in 2025 to coincide with Rauschenberg’s centennial. The first, Volume 1, will be an overview of the artist’s work;  Volume 2 will cover the artist’s early work, between 1948 and 1953. Upon completion, a total of 10 volumes are set to cover artist’s paintings through his death in 2008, and is expected to take 15 or 20 years to complete. Since it will be exclusively digital, researchers will be able to update information as the project continues.

“Our vision in developing a methodology for cataloguing and accessing Bob’s entire career and  the things that drove him—from his travels across continents to the political and environmental  challenges he sought to ameliorate—is to reflect the iconoclasm, responsiveness and spirit of  collaboration that shaped his more than 60 years of work,” Kathy Halbreich, the executive director at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation said. “I like to think of Bob as a renaissance man, our da Vinci: an inventor of the highest order and sweep.” 

In addition to meticulously documenting Rauschenberg’s work throughout his 60-year career, the catalogue will also feature a series of voices commenting on the impact and legacy of his artistic practice. The catalogue is co-edited by Julia Blaut, senior director of curatorial affairs at the foundation, and Eric Banks, director of the New York Institute for the Humanities; contributors include art historians Darby English and Michael Lobel, curators Helen Molesworth and Carlos Basualdo, and artists Glenn Ligon, Terry Winters, and Amy Sillman. 

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