Born on October 22nd 1925 in the oil-refining city of Port Arthur, Texas neÃÂ¨ Milton Ernest
Rauschenberg, he later renamed himself Robert after his Grandfather. Rauschenbergs father was
one of the many blue coloured workers in the oil refineries whilst his mother worked as a telephone
operator. He first studied art during his final years at high school but this was quickly cut short
when in 1943 he entered the local University of Texas to study Physics only to be expelled in his
first year due to learning difficulties, dyslexia, which was then not recognised and so from there he
entered into military service with the navy for one year working in the hospitals as he "did not want
to kill anyone" and here his antiwar feelings only became stronger.
He did not enrol into art education again until 1947 when he joined Kansas's art school, which took
him on a short and unmemorable study period to Paris, because he felt no use there for it's time had
already been and gone.
It was moving back to America and onto the Black Mountain College in
North Carolina where Rauschenberg began to come into his own. Studying alongside key Abstract
Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline he began to reject
the way that the purely emotional movement worked believing that colours didn't represent
emotions but colour.
In 1951 Rauschenberg broke away on his own with his first solo show, although that same year he
did exhibit alongside 60 other New York Abstract Expressionist artists including Pollock and
Kooning and became part of the 'New York School' that was founded. But during the fifties he and
his working partner Jasper Johns had the Abstract Expressionists in outrage as Rauschenberg began
to fill the surface of his paintings...