Robert Rauschenberg Preview 1974

Artwork details

Artist
Robert Rauschenberg 1925–2008
Title
Preview
Date 1974
Medium 2 works on fabric, lithograph and screenprint
Dimensions Unconfirmed: 1750 x 2045 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1982
Reference
P07715
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

P07715 Preview 1974

From Hoarfrost Editions Lithograph with newsprint, screenprint transfers and collage on silk chiffon and silk taffeta fabric 68 7/8 × 80 1/2 (1750 × 2045) overall, printed by Ron McPherson, Charly Ritt, Anthony Zepeda, Ed Hamilton, Robert Knisel and Jeffery Wasserman at Gemini GEL, Los Angeles and published by Gemini GEL in an edition of 32
Inscribed ‘Rauschenberg 74’ b.l. and ‘A P II’
Purchased from Delahunty Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Lit: Ruth E. Fine, Gemini GEL Art and Collaboration, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. November 1984-February 1985, pp.112–13 (repr. in col.)

Ruth Fine writes that the images employed in the Hoarfrost Editions, of which there were nine, were taken from newspaper and magazine photographs either transferred direct or from specially printed offset lithographs depicting similar material. She states that the difference in the source of the pictorial matter is crucial to the variations in scale. In Preview, large, powerful images - classical sculpture and classic cars - evoking memories of earlier centuries or decades, are in marked contrast to the small scale documentary newspaper events.

Fine describes how Rauschenberg, in the company of Rosamund Felsen, purchased the fabrics for the series in Los Angeles and how he also selected the printed matter there.

A group of magazine subjects, some as small as two by three inches, was enlarged many times to poster size, and then reprinted by offset. Approximately one hundred copies of the Los Angeles Sunday Times were separated into sections and organised into neat, discrete piles (a pile of one hundred magazine covers, for example, next to a pile of one hundred front sheets from the entertainment section). These piles and the enlarged offset sheets were in effect Rauschenberg's palette.

For his master proofs, which preceded the printers' right-to-print proofs, Rauschenberg arranged the sheets of newspaper (some crumpled, some flat) and the offset images on the bed of the lithography press. Under pressure... and with the use of special solvents, the ink from the images was transferred to the various fabrics lying on top of the newspaper-offset composition.

Each printer developed his own system for approaching the editions. Some assembled the necessary material for each impression piece by piece. Others made the equivalent of prefabricated print kits in advance, each one containing all of the necessary elements for a single impression: so many flat sheets of newspaper, so many crumpled sheets, and so many offset sheets.


In addition to the lithographs Rauschenberg also made a series of unique works with the same title which are broadly similar. Some of the source material is common to the unique and printed works. The title of the series is ‘named for the frozen dew that forms a white coating of minute ice needles on surfaces exposed to temperatures below freezing point’ (Robert Rauschenberg, exhibition catalogue, National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 1976-January 1977, p.142).

P07715 is one of ten artist's proofs.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

About this artwork