Postcard Self-Portrait, Black Mountain (II) was printed by Rauschenberg both as an individual photograph and as part of an editioned portfolio of seven related photographs, all of which were taken during the summer of 1952 at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina. This view of the back of SFMOMA’s photograph shows the inscription, which indicates that the print is number one of three known to have been issued independently of the portfolio edition. The roman numeral II in the artwork’s title distinguishes it from another self-portrait in the portfolio—a double exposure showing Rauschenberg sitting in a chair with the crown of a tree overlapping his upper body.
Rauschenberg’s studio assistant Bradley Jeffries inscribed the title, date, and print number on the back of this photograph after it was printed in the 1980s. Although the photograph was dated 1950 at the time of the inscription, subsequent research by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has confirmed a date of 1952.