Pintura Vermelha (1953);
Born Milton Rauschenberg on October 22, 1925 at Gates Hospital in Port Arthur, Texas, he changed his name to Robert after WWII. Rauschenberg's grandfather was a doctor who immigrated from Berlin, Germany to Cameron, Louisiana in the 19th century. His grandmother was a Cherokee who died young from tuberculosis. His father, Ernest Rauschenberg, was forced to work as a farm laborer and as a maintenance man's helper. He later got a job at Gulf States Utilities and married Dora, a telephone operator who lived in Galveston, Texas. After their marriage, Dora cut out dress patterns for a living. "That's where I learned collage" says Rauschenberg. Raised at 2721 17th St. in Port Arthur, his fundamentalist Christian household attended Sixth Street Church of Christ. He had no formal art training but liked to draw and copy the "funnies". He was quiet , shy and kind to others and loved animals. He also loved to dance but was not allowed because the church forbade it. In school he was active in drama. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943. Rauschenberg then attended the University of Texas at Austin and studied pharmacy at his family's request. Suffering from Dyslexia, he had trouble in academics and was expelled for letting a frog escape from biology class. That same year, he was drafted into the Navy and was stationed in California serving in various medical capacities. His experiences tending to the wounded permanently turned him against war and violence. However, his first exposure to real art occurred during this period when he visited the Los Angeles County Museum and saw Gainsborough's Blue Boy and Lawrence's Pinkie.