Milton Ernest Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur (Texas) as a son of Dora Carolina of dutch descent and Ernest R. Rauschenberg of German and Cherokee ancestry. He also has a sister Janet Begneaud. He began studying pharmacology but he dropped out because he had problems learning (caused by dyslexia) and his unwillingness to dissect a frog in biology class. He joined the US Navy in 1944 as a neuropsychiatric technician till 1945 or 1946. Then he studied at the Kansas City Art Institute (US) where he met Susan Weil at the Académie Julian in Paris (France). In that period he changed his name from Milton to Robert and went to Black Mountain College (North Carolina, US). Then the Art Students League of New York (US). In 1950 he married to Susan Weil. A year later their only child, Christopher, was born. They already seperated in 1952 and divorced in 1953. Then he had relationships with men. In the 70's he moved to the NoHo area in Manhattan, New York (US).

Feticci Personali (1951), Rome

His work was on many occasions titled "Neo-Dadaist". A label he shared with painter Jasper Johns. His work consisted of printmaking, drawing, photography, painting, sculpture and theatre of a combination of those.

White Painting - three panel (1951)

From 1951 till 1953 he created his White Painting series inspired by Kazimir Malevich and also Black Painting series. Also he started making artworks by using found material. For example his "Night Blooming" paintings (1951) were made by pressing pebbles and gravel into black pigment on canvas. In 1952/1953 he traveled in Italy and North Africa with Cy Twombly creating collages and small sculptures including the Scatole Personali and Feticci Personali out of found materials to be exhibited in Rome and Florence. Some works were sold and some not that he thrown in the river Arno. On his return to New York in 1953 he began creating sculptures with found materials such as scrap metal, wood and twine. Then he designed storefront window displays for Tiffany & Co. and Bonwit Teller. First with Susan Weil and later also with Jasper Johns under the pseudonym Matson Jones.

Soundings (1968)

In 1961 he was invited to participate in an exhibition at the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris (France) where artists were presenting portraits of Clert, the gallery owner. Robert's submission was a telegram declaring "This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so". 

Robert's submission for the Iris Clert gallery (1961)

From 1962 on his work was made from found objects but also found images. From that moment on his work was identified as Pop art. In 1966 the launched "Experiments in Art and Technologie (EAT)". A non-profit oganization to promoto collaborations between artists and engineers. 

Untitled (1955)

In 1968 he introduced technology based experiments himself like his work "Soundings", a light installation that responded to ambient sound. Robert witnessed the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969 and in response he created his Stoned Moon series of lithographs. 

Untitled (Spread) (1963)

From 1970 he worked from his home and studio in Captiva (Florida, US). He introduces series of artworks like Cardboards (1971-1972), Early Egyptians (1973-1974), Hoarfrost (1974-1976), Spread (1975-1982) and Jammer (1975-1976). His journeys throughout the world formed his inspiration and there found materials.

Stoned Moon Drawing (1969)

In the mid 80's he focused on silkscreening imagery with many metals. Borealis (1988-1992), Urban Bourbons (1988-1996), Phantoms (1991) and Night Shades (1991). Robert died in 2008 caused by heart failure.

Drawn (Urban Bourbon) (1992)

Bicycle (1992)

Intro to Rauschenberg by Kids Tate