blue template

Erased de Kooning Drawing

What do you need to transform a de Kooning into a Rauschenberg? 1 month and 40 erasers.

In 1953, Rauschenberg asked artist Willem de Kooning, an Abstract Expressionist painter whom he admired, for a drawing to erase. De Kooning agreed, selecting a drawing that he thought would be particularly difficult to rub out. Rauschenberg claimed that it took him a month, and about 40 erasers, to complete the job. He kept the erased drawing in his studio for two years. In 1955, when he was invited to submit a drawing to show at the Elinor Poindexter Gallery, Jasper Johns persuaded him to exhibit it. Johns placed the drawing in a gold frame and produced the work’s inscription.

See more Rauschenberg: Among Friends collaborations at mo.ma/2s54Npr.

[Robert Rauschenberg with Willem de Kooning and Jasper Johns. Erased de Kooning Drawing. 1953. A de Kooning drawing, graphite, and other media on paper, erased by Rauschenberg and mounted in a gilded wood frame with label inscribed using a metal template in blue ink on paper by Jasper Johns. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis. Photo: Ben Blackwell. © 2017 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation]

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