68.6 cm x 102.1 cm (27 in. x 40 3/16 in.)
Universal Limited Art Editions
(Port Arthur, Texas, 1925 - 2008, Captiva Island, Florida)
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Three-color lithograph and photolithograph on two sheets
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1987
First recognized for his audacious assemblages and combine paintings of the 1950s and 1960s, Robert Rauschenberg has challenged definitions of media and style throughout his long career. In his radical and influential creative practice, he has sampled almost all the artistic traditions of his time: found object assemblage, collage, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and printmaking.
In 1974 Rauschenberg began his Hoarfrost series, experimenting with layers of gauzy fabric and collaged paper in delicate arrangements. In Treaty, a work outside of the series but created during the same year, he collaged photomechanical reproductions of clothing and crumpled paper bags in a uniquely textured and expressive work. In this effortlessly elegant combination of unlike things, he juxtaposed a handkerchief, casually dropped on the plate and responsive to the natural and unavoidable law of gravity, with the rigid declaration of an exit sign, a manmade directive that is perhaps a reference to the politically charged process of détente then developing between the United States and the Soviet Union. Rich in metaphoric meanings, the work’s title and its two-part structure acknowledge the difficulties of achieving balance—whether formal or political. Treaty is one of Rauschenberg’s most admired prints, produced at Universal Limited Art Editions.