Centennial Certificate M.M.A., 1969
colour lithograph on wove paper (blind stamp: "(Metropolitan Museum)")
Printed by Donn Steward
91.5 x 64.3 cm maximum irregular
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Heinz II, New York, 1970, in honour of the centennial of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1870-1970
National Gallery of Canada (no. 16578)
This lithograph was created in honour of the centennial anniversary of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It incorporates images of famous works of art from the museum's vast collection, including a painting by Vermeer ("Woman with a Water Jug"), a self-portrait of Rembrandt, a portrait of Gertrude Stein by Picasso, a medieval tapestry of a unicorn, an Egyptian figurine, and a nude by Ingres ("Odalisque in Grisaille"). While the subject of this work was partially dictated by a commission, the use of reproductions of art works was a recurrent practice in Rauschenberg's art. In his early experiments, he fused painting and sculpture by assembling three-dimensional objects and incorporating them onto a flat, painted surface. Later, he applied silk-screened photographs of objects, and frequently of art works, onto canvas. In this print, Rauschenberg superimposed silk-screened collage elements to create layers of transparencies, both of colour and image.