Conservation Document

Conservation report relating to Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1988

Part of Rauschenberg Research Project

  • Conservation report relating to Robert Rauschenbergs <em>Erased de Kooning Drawing</em>, 1988

    Conservation report and images related to Cranmer Art Conservation’s treatment of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), 1988. Courtesy Dana Cranmer

  • Robert Rauschenberg at his Front Street studio with Erased de Kooning Drawing

    Robert Rauschenberg at his Front Street studio with Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953). Photo: Fred W. McDarrah, 1961; © Fred W. McDarrah / Getty Images

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing (verso, unframed)

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing (verso, unframed) showing an untitled drawing by Willem de Kooning (ca. 1953). Graphite on paper, 16 1/2 x 14 1/8 in. (41.9 x 35.9 cm). Collection SFMOMA, purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis; © The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

  • Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing showing inscription

    Detail of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953) showing the inscription made by Jasper Johns

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing (verso, framed) showing labels and inscription

    Robert Rauschenberg, Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953 (verso, framed)

  • Unprocessed infrared scan of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing

    Unprocessed infrared scan of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953) showing traces of the original drawing by Willem de Kooning. Infrared scan: Robin D. Myers, 2010

  • Digitally enhanced infrared scan of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing

    Digitally enhanced infrared scan of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953) showing traces of the original drawing by Willem de Kooning. Visible light scan: Ben Blackwell, 2010; Infrared scan and processing: Robin D. Myers, 2010

  • Erased de Kooning Drawing

    Robert Rauschenberg, Erased de Kooning Drawing, Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 PST 1988; traces of drawing media on paper with label and gilded frame, 25 1/4 in. x 21 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. (64.14 cm x 55.25 cm x 1.27 cm); Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; photo: Ben Blackwell


In 1988, a conservator from Cranmer Art Conservation removed the backing board from Erased de Kooning Drawing. This report documents the treatment, which was undertaken at the request of the artist. The paper board, which had likely been applied to reinforce the drawing before the erasure process began, was acidic, and had begun to damage the work. Upon its removal, an additional drawing by Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) was revealed on the back of the sheet.