Robert Rauschenberg Sues Artist

I read the title of this story on the Art Newspaper (Rauschenberg sues artist for selling his trash) and didn’t think nice things about Rauschenberg. I thought it must be a rich and famous artist releasing his lawyers on a poor struggling artist because the hounds needed to stretch their hairy legs.

But, the article says “According to Rauschenberg, in 2007 the defendant, Robert Francis Montgomery of Florida, who also paints under the name of Robert Fontaine, sold works purportedly by Rauschenberg which Rauschenberg did not create, with certificates of authenticity. Rauschenberg alleges that this violated his rights under VARA to protect the attribution of his work.” Art Newspaper

It goes on to explain that the artist found large negatives in the trash of Rauschenberg in 1998, which I think is fine if you sell it as Robert Rauschenberg Rubbish (it is the age of recycling!), but Montgomery has sold it as a finished Rauschenberg work with a certificate of authenticity.

There’s a big difference between selling an artist’s trash and selling an original work with a certificate of authenticity. So, release the hounds Mr Rauschenberg.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Surely that’s fraud! Why didn’t Rauschenberg report it to the police, instead of suing?

    Hi, Jafabrit. I see you’re still poking your tongue out at the artworld. Very sensible.

  2. Obviously the man’s an Idiot. Why would you bother – what is his motivation. It’s like the time some creep was going through Bob Dylan’s stuff and getting too close. Bob chased him down the road and pinned him to the ground and had a go at him. That is one aspect of publishing on the Internet that we have little control of – appropriation of our stuff and the subsequent misuse.

  3. Yeah, the certificate of authenticity seems to be crossing the line.. it’s just fraud.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if it was just sold as Rauschenberg rubbish. I wouldn’t like someone going through my own rubbish, but if you’re famous, I guess you would be more careful about what you throw out.

    There’s big money in the trash cans of famous artists. The rubbish of Francis Bacon sold for £965,490 at auction last year.


  4. oh he got greedy after finding those negatives huh!

    Oh yea coxsoft, I am still poking my tongue out at the art world. Just do me own thing. Good question about police vs suing, maybe he wants to make a very publicly painful point?

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is time to get the banking industry involved in these scames. If the banks were forced to be responsible for certifing that a check is “cleared” then you can bet law enforcement would soon have the tools to prosecute these scammers. As artists, this is an issue we need to address with our elected officials.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The work was not sold as a finished work, it was only source material found in the trash, its totally blown up into something larger, Montgomery may have made the mistake to sell works from the trash, but why would such works be in the trash… any curious art student would pull out of the trash works in plain sight, and selling them 10 years after the fact raising concern by who provoked Montgomery to do so….I’m sure Montgomery is not the only person to pull stuff from Rauschenberg’s trash, and it would lead any normal person to wonder who else may have pulled stuff from his trash and sold such works finished or not….

  7. Good to see Bobby still had the fire to challenge things like this at 82 years old!! A genius sadly missed…

  8. Anonymous says:

    The article in Art News is only partially true. The author of the piece forgot one important thing: To call Space 39 and “Trumane Capote” for a quote before printing the article. He alludes to the accusation that Rauschenbergs trash was sold through the gallery with the knowledge of the owner.
    I happen to know for a fact that the works were sold on the side by “Fontaine the Fool” and that the owner gave him no such permission.


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