Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Winter Pool

Robert Rauschenberg (American, Port Arthur, Texas 1925–2008 Captiva Island, Florida)
Combine painting: oil, paper, fabric, wood, metal, sandpaper, tape, printed paper, printed reproductions, handheld bellows, and found painting, on two canvases, with ladder
H. 90-1/2 x W. 59-1/2 x D. 4 in. (229.9x 151.1 x 10.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Steven and Alexandra Cohen, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Bequest of Gioconda King, by exchange, Anonymous Gift and Gift of Sylvia de Cuevas, by exchange, Janet Lee Kadesky Ruttenberg Fund, in memory of William S. Lieberman, Mayer Fund, Norman M. Leff Bequest, and George A. Hearn and Kathryn E. Hurd Funds, 2005
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Not on view
Winter Pool, the first painting by Rauschenberg to enter the Museum's collection, is a prime example of a very important period in this highly inventive and influential artist's work—the mid-1950s to the early 1960s—when he created bold objects that were a hybrid of painting and sculpture and a reinvention of collage. He called them Combines. In Cubist collage, pasted papers add up to a readable image, such as a still life. With Combines, there is no narrative and the interpretation is left to the viewer.

The work, in exceptionally fresh condition, consists of two separate canvases, each about the height of a man. A wooden ladder bridges the gap between them, and its legs extend to the floor, inviting the viewer to climb into the picture. The compositions of both canvases consist of syncopated grids formed by rectangles of paint and found objects: shirt cuffs, a handkerchief, poster letters, and photographic reproductions. Rauschenberg's virtuoso handling of paint both exploits and confronts the dominant painterly style of the early 1950s—Abstract Expressionism—and undermines the Renaissance notion that a painting shows an ideal world behind the canvas surface.
#1846. Winter Pool
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[Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, until 1960; sold on June 6, 1960 to Panza]; Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, Milan (1960–63; sold on May 22, 1963, through Leo Castelli, to Ganz); Victor and Sally Ganz (1963–88; their sale, Sotheby's, New York, November 10, 1988, no. 8, sold to Brant); Mr. and Mrs. Peter M. Brant, Greenwich, Conn. (from 1988); David Geffen (by 1997–2005; sold in November 2005, through Gagosian Gallery, New York, to Cohen and MMA); Steven and Alexandra Cohen, Greenwich, Conn. (2005–12, jointly with MMA; their gift to MMA)

New York. Leo Castelli Gallery. "Robert Rauschenberg," March 29–April 16, 1960, no catalogue.

Moderna Museet, Stockholm. "Amerikanare: Jasper Johns, Alfred Leslie, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Stankiewicz," March 17–May 6, 1962, no. 33.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Amerikanare: Jasper Johns, Alfred Leslie, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Stankiewicz," May 18–June 18, 1962, no. 33.

The Jewish Museum, New York. "Robert Rauschenberg," March 31–May 12, 1963, no. 28.

Venice. United States Pavilion. "XXXII International Biennial Exhibition of Art: Four Younger Artists," June 20–October 18, 1964, no. 28.

Providence, R. I. Annmary Brown Memorial, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design and Providence Arts Club. "Critics' Choice: Art Since World War II. 1965 Kane Memorial Exhibition in Honor of Brown University," March 31–April 24, 1965, no. 61 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Victor Ganz).

Minneapolis. Walker Art Center. "Robert Rauschenberg: Paintings 1953–1964," May 3–June 6, 1965, no. 10.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Robert Rauschenberg," February 23–April 7, 1968, no. 15.

Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne. "Robert Rauschenberg," April 19–May 26, 1968, no. 15.

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. "Robert Rauschenberg," June 7–July 14, 1968, no. 15.

London. Hayward Gallery. "Pop Art Redefined," July 9–September 3, 1969, no. 115.

Washington. National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution. "Robert Rauschenberg," October 30, 1976–January 7, 1977, no. 75 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Victor W. Ganz).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Robert Rauschenberg," March 25–May 17, 1977, no. 75.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Robert Rauschenberg," June 24–August 21, 1977, no. 75.

Buffalo. Albright-Knox Art Gallery. "Robert Rauschenberg," September 23–October 30, 1977, no. 75.

Art Institute of Chicago. "Robert Rauschenberg," December 3, 1977–January 15, 1978, no. 75.

London. Tate Gallery. "Robert Rauschenberg," April 28–June 14, 1981, no. 19.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism, and Performance 1958–1964," September 20–December 2, 1984, unnumbered cat. (fig. 4).

Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "American Painting at Mid-Century: Highlights from a Private Collection," June 12–November 14, 1993.

New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective," September 19, 1997–January 7, 1998, no. 113 (lent by David Geffen, Los Angeles).

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Menil Collection, Houston. "Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective," February 13–May 17, 1998, no. 113.

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective," June 27–October 11, 1998, no. 113.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. "Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective," November 20, 1998–February 26, 1999, no. 113.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Robert Rauschenberg: Combines," December 20, 2005–April 2, 2006, unnumbered cat. (pl. 111; lent by David Geffen, Los Angeles).

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. "Robert Rauschenberg: Combines," May 21–September 11, 2006, unnumbered cat.

Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. "Robert Rauschenberg: Combines," October 25, 2006–January 21, 2007, unnumbered cat.

Moderna Museet, Stockholm. "Robert Rauschenberg: Combines," February 17–May 6, 2007, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.

Alan R. Solomon. Robert Rauschenberg. Exh. cat., Jewish Museum, New York. New York, 1963, pp. 6–7, fig. 28.

Andrew Forge. Robert Rauschenberg. New York, 1969, pp. 90, 131, ill. p. 208 (color).

Leo Steinberg. Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art. New York, 1972, pp. 87–88, fig. 38.

Walter Hopps. Robert Rauschenberg. Exh. cat., National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, 1976, p. 106, no. 75, ill.

Calvin Tomkins. Off the Wall: Robert Rauschenberg and the Art of Our Time. Garden City, N. Y., 1980, pp. 108, 209.

Roni Feinstein. "Random Order: The First Fifteen Years of Robert Rauschenberg's Art, 1949–1964." PhD diss., New York University, 1990, p. 301, fig. 127.

Michael FitzGerald, ed. A Life of Collecting: Victor and Sally Ganz. New York, 1997, pp. 148–49, ill. (color).

Mary Lynn Kotz. Rauschenberg: Art and Life. New York, 2004, pp. 25, 33, 91, 211, 214, ill. p. 53.

Carol Vogel. "Inside Art: The Met Purchases a Rauschenberg Painting." New York Times (November 18, 2005).

Nan Rosenthal in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2005–2006." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 64 (Fall 2006), pp. 62–63, ill. (color).

Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 532, ill. (color), colorpl. 485.

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