Just In: ‘Pull (from Hoarfrost Editions)’ by Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg had a soft spot for works and processes that embraced the ephemeral, both conceptually and in practice. Like each of the works in the Hoarfrost series, Pull (from Hoarfrost Editions), which LAMA is delighted to include in the February 25, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction, explores themes of an elusive, fleeting nature. The translucent, gauzy layers of delicate, gossamer-like cloth and the barely legible, yet not entirely unrecognizable imagery of this piece all point to themes of transience and transcendence.
The processes and development of this 1974 work began more than two decades prior to its execution. In 1958 Rauschenberg commenced work on a two-year project to illustrate all 34 cantos of Dante’s Inferno. The resulting series of transfer drawings combined original watercolors and drawings created by Rauschenberg with a bevy of popular images referencing diverse contemporary events and personalities that the artist culled from glossy magazines. He transferred these images by first soaking them in lighter fluid — which worked as a chemical solvent —which he then transferred onto paper by rubbing them facedown with an empty ballpoint pen.
Rauschenberg continued to augment and experiment with this unique transfer process in the years following the creation of his Inferno. By the time he started work on the suite of nine related prints for his Hoarfrost Editions, which he created in 1974 in collaboration with the master printers at Los Angeles-based print studio Gemini G.E.L., Rauschenberg had completely refined his bricolage approach to combining original drawings and watercolors with popular images transferred from mass media publications and other sources onto unique, unstretched surfaces, such as household textiles.
Rauschenberg’s Pull is the result of an intricate process that first involved gluing a paper bag to cheesecloth using an acrylic polymer matte medium. For this particular work he next transferred images of three blue faces — both in offset — and a screen-printed image of a diver onto the cheesecloth. After this, Rauschenberg transferred a screened image of a diver and imagery sourced from newspapers, as well as images of a salad bowl and a blue face — also both in offset — all onto silk taffeta. Finally, cheesecloth and the paper bags at the top of the work were glued to the silk taffeta and two machine-stitched holes near the top of the work were included in order to allow for easy mounting of the finished piece. The final effect is one not unlike the frosty, spectra phenomenon from which it takes its cue.
Pull (from Hoarfrost Editions)
Offset lithograph and screenprint transferred to collage of paper bags and fabric on cheesecloth and silk taffeta
#19 of 29
Published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Signed and dated with edition lower center edge
Gemini G.E.L. #41.93
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000
February 25, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction