Catalogue entry

Robert Rauschenberg born 1925

P77108 Pledge 1968

Lithograph 803 x 584 (31 5/8 x 23) on J Whatman 1956 paper, same size; printed and published by Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, Long Island in an edition of 35
Inscribed ‘Rauschenberg 7/35 68' across centre right
Purchased at Christie's (Grant-in-Aid) 1985
Repr: Rauschenberg Graphic Art, exh. cat., Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 1970, p.18 no.29

‘Pledge' was executed at the same time as ‘Promise' (repr. Philadelphia exh. cat. 1970, p.19 no.57) in late summer 1968. In common with a number of prints executed by Rauschenberg around this time both ‘Pledge' and ‘Promise' incorporate magazine and newspaper images which were transferred to the stone, either entirely or in part, by the solvent method (see P77107). Notable examples of prints of this type are: ‘Drizzle' 1967, ‘Gamble' 1968, ‘Water Stop' (P07444) 1968, ‘Guardian' 1968, and ‘Landmark' 1968 (all repr. ibid., pp.22-5, nos 45, 52-5). A further characteristic of all these prints is the use of a greater number of photographic images than employed hitherto, counter-balanced by a more sparing use of lithographic tusche.

The photographic transfers used in ‘Pledge', reading from left to right and from top to bottom, are as follows: a motor car with a horse's head protruding from the back right-hand side window; a strip of three images of baseball players, also used in ‘Urban', 1962 (repr. ibid., p.12 no.5); a detail of a girl's face which closely resembles the Mona Lisa; a train crash, also used in ‘Suburban', 1962 (repr. ibid., p.12 no.6); a farmer with a box of plants, a reverse image of that used in ‘Visitation II' 1965 (see P77107); four negroes on the steps of a tenement block, also used in ‘Promise' 1968; a group of soldiers training in unarmed combat, also used in ‘Prize' 1964 (repr. ibid., pp.15 and 16); the screw at the base of a light bulb, also used in ‘Water Stop' 1968; (repr. ibid., p.25 no.53) and in ‘Promise' 1968; and a skyscraper seen from below.

‘Pledge' was printed from two stones, one in purple, one in grey, and together with ‘Promise' was executed in conjunction with the exhibition of the large sculpture construction Solstice at Dokumenta IV in Kassel, Germany, in 1968 (not repr. in Dokumenta IV catalogue).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.448-9