Artwork Verso Detail

Details of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] (verso) showing paint at tacking margins

Part of Rauschenberg Research Project

  • Details of Robert Rauschenbergs <em>Untitled</em> [glossy black painting] (verso) showing paint at tacking margins

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (details of verso)

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] before second coat of black paint

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951. Leo Castelli Gallery Records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Photo: Rudy Burckhardt; © Estate of Rudy Burckhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Pictured artwork © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] showing white paint drips

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Untitled [glossy black painting] (ca. 1951) showing white paint drips, from a slide taken ca. 1970. Image courtesy the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] showing unpainted newspaper fragment

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (detail)

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] with the second coat of black paint

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Untitled [glossy black painting] (ca. 1951) with the second coat of black paint. Photo courtesy Pace Gallery

  • Details of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] in raking and natural light

    Composite of two detail views from Rauschenberg’s Untitled [glossy black painting] (ca. 1951), showing the same area of the work in natural and raking light

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] showing a white paint drip

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (detail)

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] (verso) showing wooden brackets

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (verso)

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] (verso) showing inscription

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (detail of verso)

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] (verso) showing conservation handling frame

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (verso)

  • Details of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [glossy black painting] (verso) showing paint at tacking margins

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], ca. 1951 (details of verso)

  • Untitled [glossy black painting]

    Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black painting], Wed Jan 04 00:00:00 PST 2012; enamel and newspaper on canvas, 71 15/16 in. x 53 in. (182.72 cm x 134.62 cm); Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; photo: Ben Blackwell


These two details of the back of Untitled [glossy black painting] show staples and drips of black, pink, and red-orange paint along the work’s tacking margin, the section of canvas that wraps around its wooden stretcher and is secured to the back. The colored paint reveals that this painting was made on top of an unknown work by Rauschenberg or another artist. Always short on money and supplies in the early 1950s, Rauschenberg is known to have painted over both his own works and the castoffs of fellow artists. In the detail on the left, pink paint covers black drips, suggesting that the earlier painting also included black.