Robert Rauschenberg Prints: Beijing and Black Mountain

Robert Rauschenberg’s prints and paintings continue to be a source of joy and inspiration to art enthusiasts around the world. His 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece is going to be exhibited at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing from June 12 through August 21.

Rauschenberg Prints and the Beijing Connection

Rauschenberg exhibited his work at the National Art Museum in Beijing in 1985, as part of the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange (ROCI) program, which Rauschenberg believed could bring positive social change to the world.

The influence of his world view can be seen in two of the Rauschenberg works for sale at Vertu. Rauschenberg produced the Seven Series collages, representing seven Chinese characters. They were created in collaboration with papermakers at the Xuan Paper Mill in Jingxian, China. Each collage is done on thirty-ply paper and a layer of silk. The Chinese character on each piece is done in pulp relief. Rauschenberg applied images from posters that he found in Shanghai and overlaid them with thin, transparent paper. The collages are finished with gold leaf. A cloth medallion completes each work. The Seven Character Series became part of the 1985 ROCI CHINA exhibition.

The Continuing Influence of Black Mountain College

More of Rauschenberg’s work is included in an exhibit at the Hammer Musem at the University of California, in L.A. through May and will then travel to the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus, in September. The show is called, Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957. It’s a look at the incredible achievements and the impact that Black Mountain College had on the arts.

Black Mountain College was founded in 1933 by John A. Rice, a South Carolina-born Rhodes Scholar and educator, who ruffled many feathers in conservative southern colleges. After he was asked to resign from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, Rice founded Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina.

Rice wanted students to have a well-rounded education that included both art and science. The college was owned by the faculty, which included Buckminster Fuller, who created his first successful Geodesic Dome at Black Mountain, Merce Cunningham, who founded the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Black Mountain, John Cage, who taught music and produced multi-media theater pieces, artist Josef Albers, who had fled Nazi Germany after the closure of the Bauhuas and Robert Motherwell, one of America’s finest artists, whose prints are for sale at Vertu.

At Black Mountain, students like Rauschenberg were encouraged to participate in all of the arts and sciences, collaborate with their fellow students and guide their own curriculum

The wide range of experience that Black Mountain students, like Rauschenberg, received allowed them to explore a wide variety of interests.

Looking at the Rauschenberg print, Statue of Liberty and the mixed media Publicon Station Vl, both available in our gallery, it’s easy to see the influence of Black Mountain College and other avant-garde influences in Rauschenberg’s life.

Contact Vertu Fine Art Gallery to find out more about Robert Rauschenberg prints, Robert Motherwell works for sale and the other fine artists whose work is available in our gallery.

Donald Sultan & Chuck Close

Donald Sultan and Chuck Close: Six Degrees of Separation

A recent New York Times article, featuring the work of photographer Walter Weissman, shows a photo of Chuck Close in front of Donald Sultan’s Domino painting.

When we found a photo of Donald Sultan in front of the same painting, we took a closer look…and found the six degrees of separation between the two artists.

Connecting the Dots

I discovered about 150 dots is the minimum number of dots to make a specific recognizable person. You can make something that looks like a head, with fewer dots, but you won’t be able to give much information about who it is.
—Chuck Close

Donald Sultan plays with the patterns of dots on dominoes, buttons and flowers. They play an integral part in his work and help to create the strong patterns in his prints.

The dots that Chuck Close uses are composed of multiple colors and shades, which he has perfected over the years, to represent the varying tones in each part of the face. Close says the system that he has created, is like a language that allows him to work up close, in the grid.

The grid is what we walk in, live in.
—Donald Sultan

Following the Grid

For Donald Sultan, who has done much of his work in Manhattan, “The grid is what we walk in, live in.” He begins his work, especially the larger paintings, with a very careful chalked grid, placed over a tarred surface. His prints are often done in squares, and even his sculptures are close to square.

Chuck Close, who has overcome dyslexia, prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces) and a paralyzing stroke that has left him wheelchair bound, uses the grid to create portraits from photographs. “Overwhelmed by the whole,” the grid helps him to break the photo into parts that he can deal with, both visually and artistically.

Chuck Close and Donald Sultan Prints

Artists don’t compare themselves to each other based on money. Nobody really knows what money other artists have. They don’t care that much. The measure is the work and how you think your work is perceived. How the museums are. How you are doing.
—Donald Sultan

Both Close and Sultan have focused on creating high quality prints. Close has worked with skilled printmakers to create silk tapestry portrait prints, like the one of his friend, Phillip Glass, available at Vertu.

Sultan also works with outstanding printmakers to create his superbly textured silkscreens.

The works of both Donald Sultan and Chuck Close are part of the permanent collections of MoMA, The Tate, The Centre Georges Pompidou and the Parrish Art Museum. Terrie Sultan, Donald Sultan’s sister, is the Director of the Parrish Art Museum. She is the author of, Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration.

The Parrish Art Museum is in Water Mills, New York, about three miles from Bridgehampton, where Close lives and works, and about seven miles from Sag Harbor, where Donald Sultan lives and works. It’s about a ten minute drive from Chuck Close’s house to Donald Sultan’s house. Both Chuck Close’s prints and Donald Sultan’s prints are available at Vertu Fine Art Gallery.

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
Learn More