Rauschenberg received numerous awards during his nearly 60-year artistic career. Among the most prominent were the International Grand Prize in Painting at the 32nd Venice Biennale in 1964 and the National Medal of Arts in 1993. Rauschenberg lived and worked in New York City and on Captiva Island, Florida, until his death on May 12, 2008. 1964 was a year of social, technological, and cultural change in America: the nation mourned the murder of President John F. Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act; and the Beatles led the "British invasion" of the American pop market. The year 1964 was also a decisive moment in the canon of American post-war art. In a large, lofty studio above a billiards hall on Broadway in New York, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) completed Buffalo II, one of the largest of his famous series of screen-printed paintings that captured the social, political, and artistic zeitgeist of the decade.
Robert Milton Ernest Rauschenberg (* 22 October 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas; † 12 May 2008 on Captiva Island, Florida) was an American painter, graphic artist, photographer and object artist and a pioneer of Pop Art in the 20th century, although his multi-layered oeuvre cannot be subsumed under this style. Rauschenberg is well known for his Combines (1954–1964), a group of artworks which incorporated everyday objects as art materials and which blurred the distinctions between painting and sculpture. Rauschenberg was both a painter and a sculptor, but he also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking and performance.