Date: American painter, sculptor, and photographer, 1925–2008
Biography: Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925, and following service in the U.S. Navy, he enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1947. Rauschenberg studied in Paris at the Academie Julian and returned to the United States in 1948 to study under Josef Albers at Black Mountain College. Rauschenberg's first solo gallery exhibition was held in 1951 at the Betty Parsons Gallery and in 1963, the Jewish Museum in New York hosted his first museum show. The following year, Rauschenberg was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale. Considered to be one of the most important artists of the second half of the twentieth century, Rauschenberg coined the term combine to describe the integrated elements of painting and sculpture he created that incorporated detritus and aspects of the everyday world. This mode of expression was in direct response to the legacy of Abstract Expressionism and served as an inspiration for styles that followed. The artist is represented in major museum collections throughout the United States and internationally, and his work was the subject of a major retrospective organized by the Guggenheim Museum in 1997.