image: Let the World In: Prints by Robert Rauschenberg from the National Gallery of Art and Related Collections

Image: Introduction
Image: Accident
Image: Technology and the News
Image: Challenging Standards
Image: Cultural Interchange
Image: Masterpieces from Venice to L.A.
Image: Ruminations

Rauschenberg's collection of old photographs of family and friends, many of which he took himself, was the starting point for his Ruminations series from 1999. The print entitled 'topher features images of the artist, his former wife Susan Weil, and their son Christopher as a young boy. The images were transferred onto photosensitized metal plates and reconstituted by brushing on photographic developer in broad, painterly strokes. The vigorous mark-making and limited tonal palette that characterized Rauschenberg's early work is reprised here with a striking innovation: whereas the early prints featured gestural marks interspersed with photographic images, the new process allows the mark and image to merge as one. The Ruminations project shows Rauschenberg at his most meditative.

Throughout his career Rauschenberg has been quick to adopt new materials and methods, and he relishes the medium's unpredictability. To his mind, the technical and mechanical aspects of printmaking afford him a healthy distance from the process, allowing for spontaneous interventions. In addition, he recognizes the power of printmaking to reach broad audiences with multiple impressions. Rauschenberg continues to reach out to the world and let the world in, offering us matchless opportunities to appreciate its strange and unforeseen beauty.

Image: National Gallery of Art; October 28, 2007 to March 30, 2008
Ruminations: 'topher, 1999
Published by Universal Limited Art Editions, Bay Shore, New York
National Gallery of Art, Gift of the Collectors Committee, 2002

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