On this very day, March 15, 1984, marks an important date in our history as it was the very first time, we opened our doors to our gallery here in Stockholm! Wetterling Gallery, then named Heland Thordén Wetterling Galleries, had the honor of presenting the exhibition Three Times Mona Lisa, exhibiting ceramics by the world-renowned artist Robert Rauschenberg. Amongst the chosen works was Rauschenberg’s Pneumonia Lisa (Japanese Recreational Claywork) from 1982, pictured here. It’s a transfer on high-fired Japanese art ceramics and measures 82 x 220 x 6 cm.
Over the course of his six-decade career, Robert Rauschenberg embraced pop culture, technical experimentation, and material eclecticism. Rauschenberg is recognized as forging a bridge between the Abstract Expressionism of the forties and fifties, to the Pop Art of the sixties. In the pioneering of this new art, Rauschenberg’s innovations blurred the lines between sculpture and painting, and obliterated the illusion of Cartesian space. Most famous for his “combines” of the 50’s, he applied found objects and other non-traditional materials in new configurations. Rauschenberg challenged the distinction between art objects and those of everyday life and sought to elevate the status of the mainstream. Known also for advances in the field of printmaking, his adoption of the commercial medium of silk-screen printing enabled him to uniquely address the impact of reproducibility on perception and experience. Rauschenberg’s contributions in the field of painting, printmaking and performance are of significant and lasting influence on younger generations.
Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthus, Texas, in 1925. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Academie Julian in Paris, and under Josef Albers at the legendary Black Mountain College. His first retrospective, organized by the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C., 1970, traveled throughout the United States. Rauschenberg’s extensive travel abroad culminated in the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (R.O.C.I) project from 1985 – 1991. He also founded Change, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides emergency funds for artists, and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; a non-profit entity devoted to projects that increase public awareness about subjects of vital interest to the artist. Since 1951, Rauschenberg’s work has been exhibited extensively in museums and galleries around the world and has received many awards and honors. Rauschenberg lived and worked in Captiva, Florida from 1970, to his death in 2008.
Unfortunately, we do not have any photographic records of the exhibition available online (they are still on discs in our storage) but we do have a wonderful video, created by Rauschenberg himself for his second solo exhibition at the gallery which took place in 1987. The video can be viewed HERE.
It’s truly something special looking back over these past decades and we are proud to say that we are an integral part of the art history of Stockholm. It’s safe to say that a lot has changed these past years except one thing – our location. We are still at the same address and that’s something that won’t change for the foreseeable future. Happy birthday to the gallery, today 38 years young!