image of Support
Robert Rauschenberg, Support, 1973
Robert Rauschenberg, Support, 1973; screenprint, 30 in. x 21 15/16 in. (76.2 cm x 55.72 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Argosy Partners and Bond Street Partners, New York; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; published by Styria Studio


Two days before Christmas 1972 a major earthquake struck the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, claiming approximately five thousand lives and displacing two-thirds of the city’s 325,000 residents. The devastating event captured international media attention and triggered widespread relief efforts. Robert Rauschenberg responded with Support (1973), a screen print he produced to benefit the Pan American Development Foundation. The print was issued by Styria Studio, New York, in an edition of 250, and proceeds from its sale were intended to provide direct aid to the victims of the disaster.

The print’s references to its tragic context range from oblique to overt. The composition, awash in an orange-yellow haze, includes images of a bald eagle, a postmarked airmail envelope, and multiple views of an ocean sunset. Featured near the center and top third of the print are multiple hands that gesture in what reads like a secret code. Two shadowy figures holding an assortment of colorful balloons face the left side of the composition, one of them pointing toward two counting hands that hover above and to the right of an image of yet another hand completing a crossword puzzle. In what may be the most explicit reference to the earthquake and the effort to help its victims, the tip of the pen in the crossword image points directly toward a reversed solvent transfer of an excerpt from the New York Times’s “Week in Review,” in which the most discernible word is “HELP.”

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Robert Rauschenberg
Date created
30 in. x 21 15/16 in. (76.2 cm x 55.72 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Argosy Partners and Bond Street Partners, New York
© Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; published by Styria Studio
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Research Materials


Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.