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THOMAS CROW

IN MID-SEPTEMBER 1962, Bob Rauschenberg paid a visit to Andy Warhol’s studio. Met curator and Warhol confidante Henry Geldzahler had arranged the meeting, which also included the Paris dealer Ileana Sonnabend, who was then setting out to make Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns into household names in Europe.1

In that she would within a few years be doing the same for Warhol, the encounter could be described as auspicious. But a more immediate exchange that took place between the two artists casts a particular light on Rauschenberg’s catalyzing role in much of the best art of the past half century. Warhol was then only in the first months of his career-defining commitment to the photo silk screen as a representational device. His studio visitors would have seen the first wave of Marilyn Monroe canvases, along with some earlier celebrity likenesses, to which Warhol proposed adding a few Rauschenberg

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