Hillary Rodham Clinton Campaign Print

Robert Rauschenberg
Hillary Rodham Clinton Campaign Print

Robert Rauschenberg, Hillary Rodham Clinton Campaign Print, 2000, Pigmented inkjet print in colors on wove paper, Museum purchase, The Nancy Gray Sherrill, Class of 1954, Collection Acquisition Fund 2020.26.2

The Davis Museum recently purchased a Robert Rauschenberg campaign poster for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s race for a seat in the United States Senate in 2000. Clinton (Class of 1969) served as a New York Senator from January 2001 until January 2009, when she was appointed Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Her run for Senate was historic and unprecedented, as she became the first First Lady to hold elected office, as well as the first female Senator from New York. One of the most influential American artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Robert Rauschenberg was an avid supporter of the Democratic Party.

Rauschenberg’s poster for Clinton’s campaign combines photographs of elephants, a donkey, the American flag, and a tire to describe the conflicted state of the country. The only text is found in two signs: “ONE WAY” and “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” While there is no explicit mention of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the overlay of red, white, and blue connects the central image of the American flag with the Democrats, represented by a donkey moving in the direction of the “ONE WAY” sign. The Republicans are depicted by the grey backsides of elephants at the top of the print, walking on top of and away from the flag—and its patriotic symbolism. The photographs used in the collage feel documentary, and the juxtapositions create the message. Rauschenberg used collage often, stating in a 1997 interview with Art Newspaper, “…I think collage itself, and the activity of making collage, is the most direct way that you can relate diverse elements rather than their going through the transition of a translation... I like the directness, and the fact that it is not being soiled or diluted by my interpretation of it.”[1] While the Davis currently holds ten other prints by Rauschenberg, including the full set of 36 Drawings for Dante’s Inferno, this is the first political campaign poster by the artist to enter the collections. It is fitting to expand his representation at the Davis with a work produced for a historic moment in the career of an esteemed Wellesley College alumna.


[1] Kaufman, Jason Edward. Interview with Robert Rauschenberg: Commemorating the artist. Art Newspaper, June 2008, Vol. 17, p33-33. <https://www.theartnewspaper.com/archive/robert-rauschenberg-1925-2008>