Lot Details

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), burst onto the international art scene after winning first prize for the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1964, and today he is considered one of the most innovative and important Pop artists of the 20th century. Knowing about his interest in experimental printmaking and photography, Rauschenberg was approached to make an original cliché-verre to be included in the exhibition Cliché-verre: Hand-Drawn, Light-Printed. This was the inaugural show for the Detroit Institute of Art's Schwartz Galleries of Prints and Drawings. Cliché-verre is a way of making inkless images using only light as the exposing agent on surfaces/supports/papers that have been treated with light-sensitive chemicals. The technique has been practiced since the nineteenth century. Until his involvement with this project, Rauschenberg had never tried the medium. The image he created was made by exposing the objects seen in the image– an actual bicycle wheel, a glass jar, a sprig of flowers, bits of cut-up and rearranged letters from a variety of prints sources, cut-up photographic negatives, textiles, and other things–on a light-sensitive surface. When exposed to light, these objects all acted as blocking out agents on the support/paper beneath them while the areas around them turned dark. To make the edition of lithographs, Rauschenberg’s cliché-verre was photographed meticulously with a complex system of exposures which were transferred to a photosensitive lithograph surface. The image was then printed via conventional off-set lithographic means.

This is one of the only prints Rauschenberg made with this technique, and it remains one of his most intriguing.

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Publication: Cliché-verre: Hand-Drawn, Light-Printed, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1980
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Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Pickup Location: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 25 x 19 x 1 in. (63.5 x 48.26 x 2.54 cm.)
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