Archives Collections

About the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Archives and Library

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation archives, consisting of Robert Rauschenberg’s personal papers and the office records from his Captiva Island, Florida, and New York studios, contains the most comprehensive body of information on the artist’s life and career. In addition, the Foundation holds Rauschenberg’s library, consisting of publications from Robert Rauschenberg’s Florida and New York studios as well as materials the Foundation has continued to collect. As we continue to uncover treasures, we will make them available on our website to explore together with Rauschenberg’s artworks.

Onsite access to the Foundation archives and library, housed at the Foundation in New York, is by advance appointment. Requests for archival materials should include:

  • A brief description of proposed research and subject matter;
  • A description of archives materials requested including collection title and number, box or item number, and the brief description of the material. Search the archives's finding aids below and review the Guide to Searching and Requesting Research Materials for more details;
  • A list of any library publications. Search the library catalogue to learn more about our holdings;
  • A brief bio with contact information; and
  • A list of dates in which you'd like to visit. Appointments are generally made on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:30 - 5:00. The Foundation is not open on weekends.

Appointments can be requested by contacting Because seating is limited to two researchers per day, we recommend making requests at least two weeks in advance to assure space.

Started in 2018, the Rauschenberg Archives Research Residency (formerly Travel Fund) is a program that provides partial support for costs related to travel and living expenses that individuals may occur in order to do research at the Rauschenberg Foundation and its archives. More information, including deadlines and how to apply can be found in the link above or in Grants.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Archives holds the following archival collections

  • Chun-Wuei Su Chien papers
  • Donald Saff records on Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI)
  • Douglas Maxwell records on The Other ROCI, Arena, BBC Films
  • Interviews with Rauschenberg Friends and Associates


Robert Rauschenberg papers (RRFA-01)

The Robert Rauschenberg papers contain records created and collected by Robert Rauschenberg and his studio staff during Rauschenberg’s lifetime. Approximately 270 cubic feet of archival material date from the early 1920s to 2008. The collection includes but is not limited to personal documents and objects, personal and administrative correspondence, interviews, writings, notes, sketches, project files, gallery and museum records, performance documentation, business (studio) records, and ephemera.

Arrangement and description of this collection began in February 2015. As series in this collection are completed, the records will be made available for public research. The following series are open to public research:

Photograph Collection (RRFA-09)

The Photograph Collection contains approximately 25 cubic feet of photographic prints, slides, and negatives (more than 7,000 images), shot primarily by Robert Rauschenberg’s studio assistants, friends, and professional photographers. Spanning from 1927 to 2008, with some undated material, the collection documents the artist’s personal life, studio activities, performances, exhibitions, special projects, and events he attended.

This collection is arranged, described, and open for public research.
View/download the finding aid


Audiovisual collection (RRFA-02)

The Audiovisual collection contains film, video, and sound recordings created and collected by Rauschenberg, his studio staff, and the Rauschenberg Foundation. Approximately 50 cubic feet of recordings span the early 1950s to the present, including performance documentation, interviews and lectures, news reels, Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) footage, exhibition documentation, as well as commercial films and unedited footage.

This collection is arranged, described, and open for public research.
View/download the finding aid


Chun-Wuei Su Chien papers (RRFA-05)

Chun-Wuei Su Chien papers document Chien’s role as Robert Rauschenberg’s coordinator and translator during Rauschenberg’s 1982 trip to the Anhui province and subsequent ROCI CHINA and ROCI TIBET exhibitions (both 1985) related to the ROCI tour. The collection also contains a small amount of material from 1977 to 1996, which documents side projects related to Rauschenberg and Chien’s unrelated personal projects. 

This collection is arranged, described, and open for public research.
View/download the finding aid


Donald Saff records on Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) (RRFA-10)

The Donald Saff records on ROCI contains materials documenting the conception and implementation of ROCI that were created and collected by Saff, Artistic Director, 1984-1991. The approximately 15 cubic feet of materials includes international research and planning documents, correspondence, travel schedules, exhibition and venue details, and photographs.

This collection is arranged, described, and open for public research.
View/download the finding aid


Interviews with Rauschenberg Friends and Associates (RRFA-08)

Interviews with Rauschenberg Friends and Associates was project undertaken by Karen Thomas of Film Odyssey in 2010 at the request of the Robert Rauschenberg Revocable Trust. The project served as a preliminary effort to collect interviews that document Robert Rauschenberg’s history through first person accounts. Interviews were conducted and edited in 2011-2012 by Thomas. Available interview transcripts include Carolyn Brown, Laddie Dill, and Rachel Rosenthal. The last interview was conducted in 2012 and the project concluded shortly thereafter.

This collection is arranged, described, and open for public research.
View/download the finding aid


Douglas Maxwell records on The Other ROCI, Arena, BBC Films (RRFA-12)

The Douglas Maxwell records on The Other ROCI, Arena, BBC Films include audio, transcripts, and published versions of an interview conducted by Maxwell with Robert Rauschenberg in Captiva in the summer of 1989, out-takes and final footage of the 1991 BBC documentary The Other ROCI, and a small number of photographs taken in Venice in 1990 during the filming of the documentary.

This collection is arranged, described, and open for public research.
View/download the finding aid


Collection of Source Materials (RRFA-03)

The Collection of Source Material contains raw materials collected and maintained by Rauschenberg and his studio assistants for use in his artworks. Rough estimates of the materials span over 45 cubic feet. Items include materials such as fabrics, silkscreens, paint samples, and photographs.

Detailed inventory, arrangement, and description of this collection will begin at the completion of the Robert Rauschenberg papers (RRFA-01) and the Audiovisual collection (RRFA-02). It is anticipated that parts of this collection will be available for research in late 2019.


Change, Inc. records (RRFA-04)

Change, Inc. records include documents from Change Inc., a foundation that Robert Rauschenberg established in 1970 to aid professional visual artists who are based in the United States and face substantial medical expenses. The criteria later expanded to provide relief for other emergencies that Change, Inc.’s board deemed worthy, such as damage to a studio, potential eviction, and high utility costs.

Due to federal regulations restricting confidential medical information and out of respect for the applicant’s privacy, this collection is closed to the public. It is anticipated that this collection will be arranged and described in 2021/2022. Once completed, nonconfidential records can be opened to the public. 


Collection on Robert Rauschenberg Research (RRFA-06)

The Collection on Robert Rauschenberg Research consists of copies of archival records held at other archival repositories. Past studio employees and current curatorial staff have collected current holdings; curatorial staff will continue to build this collection as part of their ongoing research on Rauschenberg.

Due to the bulk of this collection consisting of copies of archival materials held elsewhere, this collection is available for on-site research only. Researchers will be encouraged to contact or visit the original repositories for further access.


Robert Rauschenberg Foundation records (RRFA-07)

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation records document the activities of the Rauschenberg Foundation from its founding in 1990 to its present-day activities. Early records include information on the incorporation of the foundation, whereas later records focus on the philanthropy, residency, and art activities. The bulk of the records are dated from 2008 and later.

Once arranged and described, records within this collection will be made accessible twenty-five years after the date of creation.