Rauschenberg's prints belong in the main course of his development and are in no sense peripheral. In 1962, the year of his first lithographs, he also made his first silkscreened paintings and the two techniques need to be seen together. Fortunately it happens that at this time Rauschenberg was the subject of a detailed article by Gene Swenson. 1. Early in the year Rauschenberg had completed a large five-panel abstract painting called Ace in which a minimum of physical attachments intersected the flow of paint. He had begun work on a new combine-painting, but Swenson records that progress was desultory. After nearly eight years of assemblage, Rauschenberg was bored with the compilation of objects.
According to Swenson Rauschenberg accepted "a commission by a large hotel firm for a lithograph: he had not worked in this medium before and had to solve a number of technical problems. He did several other drawings and finished a number of lithographs during the summer, including one collaboration with James Dine and Jean Tinguely. These were, in fact, the only works he both began and finished during the later Spring and Summer." 2. Also he made the first group of black-and-white paintings, the images of which were printed from silkscreens onto the canvas. Rauschenberg's explanation for the printed paintings is given by Swenson: "I had been working so extensively on sculpture that I was ready to try substituting the image—by means of the photographic silkscreen—for objects." 3. Or, as Rauschenberg put it later, in the verbal statement that occupies the central panel of the billboard-size lithograph Visual Autobiogarphy: "began silk‐____________________