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Details of fabric in Robert Rauschenberg's Collection with a shirt of similar material

Related to Collection, 1954/1955

Composite showing details from Robert Rauschenberg's Collection (1954/1955) alongside a shirt created of printed fabric similar to that used in the artwork

Research Material
Artwork Detail

Some of the fabric swatches in Rauschenberg’s Collection came from a widely available commercial textile featuring reproductions of famous works of art. By sheer coincidence, an SFMOMA conservator found the shirt pictured here at a flea market, and realized that it is made of a printed fabric similar to the one used in the work. Though the background color of the shirt differs from that of Rauschenberg’s source cloth, the reproductions of paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, and others are identical to those he cut and placed in the lower half of the center panel. Rauschenberg’s choice to reference other artworks in the form of fragments from a kitschy printed textile tested the conventions of art, taste, and humor.

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