Just three weeks after Robert Rauschenberg’s death at the age of 82, nine late works by the influential US artist went on sale at Art Basel this week with the blessing of the Florida-based Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. The nine twisted metal sculptures from his 1980s “Gluts” series (right) were bought to Basel by the Zurich gallery, Jamileh Weber (2.0/F2). “They were all keepers,” said Ms Weber—works that the artist asked to be held back by his foundation, a charity set up in 1990 primarily to support educational and philanthropic activities. The artist and Swiss gallery owner had known each other for 30 years.
Ms Weber said the foundation, which was chaired by Rauschenberg himself, released the pieces for an exhibition at the Galerie Jamileh Weber that opened in April, shortly before the artist’s death. Ms Weber has an option, valid until June, to buy them for her own stocks or sell them. Several had sold but she declined to reveal which, or to whom. She told The Art Newspaper a number of museums were interested in the pieces.
A trustee of Rauschenberg’s estate, Bennet Grutman, told The Art Newspaper that “the foundation will be the recipient of the large part of Rauschenberg’s estate,” but this would not be put on the market.