Rauschenberg Foundation archive no. RRF 58.D032
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York,
57.8 x 73 cm
Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris
Private Collection, USA
Rome, Galleria La Tartaruga, Rauschenberg, 30 May - 1 June 1959
Paris, Galerie Daniel Cordier, Robert Rauschenberg, 27 April - 8 June 1961
New York, Stellan Holm Gallery, Robert Rauschenberg, Transfer Drawings, 1958- 1969, 1 November 2011 to 17 December 2011
DescriptionComplete Relaxation dates from the the first year of Robert Rauschenberg's intensive involvement with the transfer drawing process.
An idyllic sounding title names a work that is much about doubling. This is especially true of the pair of perpendicular figures at the centre, placed on either side of a protective suited diver (or astronaut?). The pair to the right is slightly fainter, as a second use of a source image would be, and they strongly recall the Dante and Virgil stand-ins in the contemporary Dante illustrations,
begun the same year. The woman exercising at upper left is also a doubled identical image, stacked
vertically and the circular diagram at top centre is excised and doubled at some distance, at the lower left corner, just below a pair of jewels.
The circle proves to be part of a diagrammatic land map, labelled ‘Acquire for Addition to Division’.
It shows three streets: Dayton and Newtown Lanes, and Main Street. The former two are indeed parallel lanes that intersect with Main Street in East Hampton, Long Island, a popular
destination for post-war artists. Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns visited the area the following summer. They were part of a large group photograph by John Gruen that included artists Larry Rivers and Grace Hartigan on nearby Water Mill beach.