Artwork Verso Detail

Detail of verso of Robert Rauschenberg's Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) showing backing board

Part of Rauschenberg Research Project Home

  • Detail of verso of Robert Rauschenbergs <em>Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat)</em> showing backing board

    Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996 (detail of verso)

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) showing the artist's signature

    Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996 (detail)

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) showing frame and metal support

    Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996 (detail)

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) showing troweled plaster edge

    Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996 (detail)

  • Detail of verso of Robert Rauschenberg's Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) showing backing board

    Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996 (detail of verso)

  • Donald Saff and Robert Rauschenberg in the studio with Party Line (Arcadian Retreat)

    Donald Saff and Robert Rauschenberg with Party Line (Arcadian Retreat) (1996) in the artist's studio on Captiva Island, Florida, 1996. Courtesy Saff Tech Arts, Oxford, MD. Photo: George Holzer

  • Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat)

    Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), inkjet transfer and wax on fresco panels, 111 in. x 75 in. (281.94 cm x 190.5 cm); Gift of Vicki and Kent Logan; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


As one of the largest frescos in the Arcadian Retreat series, Catastrophe is extremely heavy. When the work is installed at SFMOMA, six art handlers and a forklift or hydraulic lift are needed to move it from its crate to the wall. To protect and stabilize the plaster, each panel is mounted on an aluminum backing board. These supports are reinforced by additional metal cross-braces. In this view, the piece is secured to a metal cart for inspection. When the work is viewed from the front, its complex metal structure is nearly invisible; the three panels appear to float within their wooden frame.