Milton Ernest “Robert” Rauschenberg was born October 22, 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas.
He began college at the University of Texas when he was only 16, intending to be a pharmacist, but was drafted into the Navy in 1943 to serve during World War II. When he was discharged in 1945, he changed direction and began to experiment with various art forms–painting, sculpture, graphic design, photography, printmaking, papermaking, and even performance. His early works (some of which are shown above) were early examples of the pop art movement popular in the 1950s and 60s.
Rauschenberg was awarded the national Medal of Arts in 1993 and the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts in 1995. He died of heart failure in May 2008 at the age of 82.