Peeling back Robert Rauschenberg’s solvent transfers

An entire room at Tate Modern's widely acclaimed Robert Rauschenberg retrospective is dedicated to his transfer drawings. The focus is on one series that makes use of the technique – the renowned 1958 interpretation of Dante's Inferno. But over a two decade period, Rauschenberg created many more of these solvent transfers. A rare selection of these further, essential works are currently on display across town in Mayfair at Offer Waterman gallery, until 13 January 2017

Robert Rauschenberg January First 1962 Solvent Transfer On Strathmore Paper With Gouache Wash And Pencil 57

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Robert Rauschenberg first began experimenting with the medium in 1952, before his seminal Combines. But it was the late 1950s and early 60s that the artist's interest in the transferal technique accelerated, resulting in many of the works collected at Offer Waterman. Pictured, January First, 1962

Robert Rauschenberg Umpire 1965 Tape Coloured Ink Silkscreen Collage And Solvent Transfer On Paper 90 X 80 Cm C Dacs

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These transfers anticipate Rauschenberg's iconoclastic late 60s silk screens, which appropriate elements of contemporary media, from newspapers to sports illustrated. Pictured, Umpire, 1965

Robert Rauschenberg Orange Body 1969 Solvent Transfer Gouache And Pencil On Paper 139

Over thirty drawings are seen at Offerman's five-storey Mayfair location. They include items from important international collections along with a few, exceptional works presented for sale. Pictured, Orange Body, 1969

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Robert Rauschenberg Complete Relaxation 1958 Solvent Transfer Graphite Gesso Ink And Black Crayon On Paper 57

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The transfers were made in signature Rauschenberg style, with everyday, 'non-art' objects and methods. As he commented at the time, 'The strongest thing about my work, if I must say this, is the fact that I chose to ennoble the ordinary.' Pictured, Complete Relaxation, 1958

Robert Rauschenberg Apology 1968 Solvent Transfer On Arches Paper With Gouache Wash Watercolour And Pencil 57

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By using images repurposed from this broad selection of media outlets, Rauschenberg was wittingly capturing a texture of the times. The resulting works are at once historical documents, a slice of the zeitgeist, and a thrilling insight into the major artist's oeuvre. Intended to complement Tate Modern's thorough retrospective, this exhibition shines a fine spotlight on one of Rauschenberg's most important, yet often overlooked, moments. Pictured, Apology, 1968