Robert Rauschenberg
Pledge 1968

Artwork details

Robert Rauschenberg 1925–2008
Date 1968
Medium Lithograph on paper
Dimensions Image: 803 x 584 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1985
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms


The lithograph Pledge was executed at the same time as Promise (reproduced Rauschenberg Graphic Art, 1970, p.19 no.57) in late summer 1968. Both works incorporate magazine and newspaper images, a central feature of Rauschenberg's paintings and prints. The photographic transfers used in Pledge, reading from left to right and from top to bottom, are: a motor car with a horse's head protruding from the back right-hand side window; a strip of three images of baseball players; a detail of a girl's face which closely resembles the Mona Lisa; a train crash; a farmer with a box of plants (a reverse image of that used in Visitation II, 1965, Tate Gallery P77107); four black men on the steps of a tenement block; a group of soldiers training in unarmed combat; the screw at the base of a light bulb; and a skyscraper seen from below.

Pledge and Promise were executed in conjunction with the exhibition of the large sculpture construction Solstice at Dokumenta IV in Kassel, Germany, in 1968.

Further reading:
Rauschenberg Graphic Art, exhibition catalogue, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 1970, reproduced p.18 no.29
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1988, pp.448-9, reproduced

Terry Riggs
February 1998

About this artwork