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View of Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled [black painting with portal form] showing alternate orientation

Related to Untitled [black painting with portal form], 1952–53

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Carolyn Brown, a friend of Rauschenberg’s and a founding member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, purchased Untitled [black painting with portal form] with her husband at the time, musician and composer Earle Brown, when the work was exhibited at Stable Gallery, New York, in Rauschenberg: Paintings and Sculpture; Cy Twombly, Paintings and Drawings (September 15–October 3, 1953). Brown remarked to the artist that the large black rectangle bothered her, and he responded that they should hang the work on its side. From that point on, the painting has had two acceptable orientations—vertical or horizontal.

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