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