How Easy Is It to Create a Rauschenberg?

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Jennifer Klemp Artist writes about Rauschenberg, and the Value of this Fine Artist.


What took Rauschenberg possibly hundreds of hours to create took me about two hours with digital images and a simple, yet effective program called Canva. (Which most people are familiar with if they are on social media.) It was exciting to make this collage image which is an appropriation of Rauschenbergs work. If you need a color swash or a picture of an eagle, it's there. You can overlay in seconds, adjust the transperency and voila!- an instant Rauschenberg.

Digital image made by Jennifer Klemp Artist using images similar to the original 'Buffalo II'.
This is NOT a Rauschenberg

Rauschenberg took many of his images himself via photography and used transfer process and silkscreen methods. The piece that I appropriated is “Buffalo II”, which Rauschenberg created in 1964. This piece WON the Venice Biennale in that year. In 1964, a 39-year-old Robert Rauschenberg became the youngest artist and the first American ever to win the coveted Golden Lion Award at the Biennale.


The crux of the matter to the artist, is that Rauschenbergs collage paintings were unique for his time. No one had done work like this before. So, for me to re-create a similar image or appropriate the image is just not the same. Much of being an artist is about using images or appropriations in a different ‘way’- or to use a method that is unique to YOU (the artist). However, the time frame in which the artists creates his or her work is also integral to the value of that artist.

Appropriations or 'copying' other artists has been done for a very long time. One of my professors in the Fine Arts Program where I attended used to say "We are merely standing on the shoulders of the other artists who came before us." After you dabble for many years with copying other artists though, you need to branch out and find your own 'voice' in your work. So, while it is relatively easy to make a clever copy of 'Buffalo II', just for fun, and to find out how this artist created images, the work is not inherently 'me'.


My opinion on copying other artists is that as an artist, it is a great exercise to copy or appropriate every artist you love in your learning stages, and/or copy parts of their technique. Eventually, you will find your own voice. You will want to 'break out' though eventually. To be able to re-create someone else's technique is a worthy effort and will teach the artist so much. Trust me, I've tried to re-create many artists in my time, but what is missing is that artists essence. You can never re-create someones essence, which holds a unique spiritual knowledge.


Regarding value, I wanted to touch upon 'Buffalo II' for the Fine Art Enthusiast or Art Connoiseur. I wanted to pass along important information on the value of this piece to 'Cue the Color' readers:

In March of 2019 Galerie Magazine estimated that Rauschenbergs 'Buffalo II' (1964) could fetch a 'whopping' $50 million dollars at Christies Auction. The silkscreen painting sold for $88.8 million instead.

The heiress of Sara Lee aquired Buffalo II for 16,900.00 in 1964. Alice Walton of Wal-Mart purchased the piece. This last purchase shattered Rauschenbergs previous sale price record by a factor of 5.

I did my research and figured out the ROI, which actually means that I just called my financial advisor, Chris Durr of LPL Financial. Chris graciously figured out the numbers for me. Buffalo II had a Total ROI of 525,343.79% from 1964 until now. Annually, that growth is 16.48 %.

Imagine if you are an art buyer of an artist who ‘makes it big’ one day…I'll be writing about what motivates buyers to purchase art in later blog posts, but for now just think about the ROI of "Buffalo II"!


If you haven't seen the ‘Grid Series’ yet, please take a look a this new series that I created during Covid-19. The Grid series seeks to answer questions of manifestation and tap into the intuitive process. The Grid series has ties to Rauschenbergs work. At price points that are accessible to all, prints from the ‘Grid Series’ are going to make great gifts for the Holiday Season.


I will have more on Rauschenberg in the future, more than likely. Until then, I'd encourage you to look at Christies Auction House where you can see "Buffalo II", and also a video on this piece where Chris Rauschenberg speaks about this famous work of Fine Art.



Until next time,


Jennifer Klemp Artist



Jennifer Klemp Fine Artist St. Louis behind the scenes art blog

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Since receiving my M.F.A. from Fontbonne in 2001, I've been busy creating figurative work via traditional drawing and painting techniques. I love sharing my knowledge of techniques with fellow artists. This blog will show you the process through which my art is created, whether the work be abstract or figurative. You will find details on my current and past pieces along with news regarding my future works and events. 

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