Artwork Detail

Detail of second panel of Robert Rauschenberg's Autobiography

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  • Detail of second panel of Robert Rauschenbergs <em>Autobiography</em>

    Robert Rauschenberg, Autobiography, 1968 (detail)

  • Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg's Autobiography, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1991

    Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg’s Autobiography (1968) in Robert Rauschenberg: Print Survey in Themes, 1952–1992, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, October 7–December 4, 1992. Photo: Dorothy Zeidman, courtesy the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

  • Detail of first panel of Robert Rauschenberg's Autobiography

    Robert Rauschenberg, Autobiography, 1968 (detail)

  • Detail of second panel of Robert Rauschenberg's Autobiography

    Robert Rauschenberg, Autobiography, 1968 (detail)

  • Detail of third panel of Robert Rauschenberg's Autobiography

    Robert Rauschenberg, Autobiography, 1968 (detail)

  • Autobiography

    Robert Rauschenberg, Autobiography, Mon Jan 02 00:00:00 PST 2012; offset lithograph, 198 3/4 in. x 48 3/4 in. (504.8 cm x 123.81 cm); Gift of Marion B. Javits, Robert Rauschenberg, and Milton Glaser;


The spiral of text on the central panel of Autobiography (1968) resembles a fingerprint and offers an abbreviated history of Rauschenberg’s life and artistic career. At the heart of the text, a red box anchored by a downward arrow frames a transferred photograph of the artist as a child boating with his parents, Dora and Ernest Rauschenberg, near Port Arthur, Texas. Within the text, the arrow connects the words “Family” and “It was a rich exchange,” linking a reference to the most significant relationships of his childhood with one from adulthood—his close friendship with composer John Cage (1912–1992).