Enduring Pop Art predecessor Robert Rauschenberg is most well known for his tropical storm of montaged imagery, delving into any and all media that might be explored including paint, ink, glue, construction materials, graphite, charcoal, markers, objects as printing elements, photography, sculpture, assemblage and even concept as a material. For one of the most inventive and original artists of his time, and someone who carved an incendiary new mentality which helped inspire one of the most important art movements in modern history, Rauschenberg’s art school professor— none other than Josef Albers, a founder of the Bauhaus— clearly held a career-defining role. Albers' coursework, to the tone of strict discipline, did not allow for "uninfluenced experimentation," something Rauschenberg described as impelling him to do the exact opposite.
This untethered approach to artistic expression is precisely part of the recipe of Rauschenberg’s magic, something that found its way out into the open no matter the medium or context in which he worked. Two telling examples of this unscathable spirit are found in his very dealings with the art world itself. When in 1961 he was invited to participate in an exhibition at the Galerie Iris Clert, where artists were to create a portrait of the owner Iris Clert, Rauschenberg's submission consisted of a telegram sent to the gallery declaring "This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so." And in a famously cited incident from 1953, Rauschenberg erased a drawing by de Kooning, which he obtained from his colleague for the express purpose of erasing it as an artistic statement. The result is titled Erased de Kooning Drawing, and since 1998 hangs in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.