By: Melanie Gerlis
Three major galleries are joining forces for a transatlantic showing of lesser-known late works by American heavyweight Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). Thaddaeus Ropac, a longtime gallery partner of the artist’s foundation, will open a show in Salzburg (April 8-July 9) followed by New York’s Gladstone Gallery and Mnuchin Gallery at the beginning of May.
Each show will be of different bodies of work from the foundation, all of which have had limited exposure. Ropac has two related series of Clayworks, made on and from ceramic in the 1980s. Rauschenberg created these in Japan, which he first visited on tour with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1964. Gladstone Gallery has two bodies of sculptural works — The Venetians (1972-73) and Early Egyptians (1973-74) — while Mnuchin will show key works from 14 of Rauschenberg’s series made between 1971 and 1999.
Most works are for sale, confirms the foundation’s adviser, Allan Schwartzman, who says Rauschenberg is about much more than the Combines and silkscreen paintings for which he is best known. “He was extraordinarily inventive throughout his life, unbound by any style, medium, imagery or treatment of surfaces,” Schwartzman says. He believes Rauschenberg is “the most undervalued artist of the postwar period”.
Last year’s Macklowe auction makes the point: Rauschenberg’s “Crocus” silkscreen (1962) may have sold for an above-estimate $11mn, but this was considerably below prices made for artists such as Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.