Dumpster Diving and Robert Rauschenberg

Posted on March 1, 2008


Events have reached a new low for Robert Rauschenberg in Naples Florida. Seems he is the victim of a frugal trash hunter who has been caught recycling his art work.  Robert Fontaine a neighbor of Rauschenberg and the HW Gallery of Naples, Fla., improperly sold artwork under his name, complete with bogus certificates of authenticity, after Fontaine pulled discarded pieces from Rauschenberg’s trash. This may be better than gleaning aluminum cans out of the neighborhood trash bins and taking them to your local recycler. Rauschenberg filed suit to stop the sale of his work and to recover any monies gained through its sale. But the rub here is whose trash is it now. Yale Freeman, Fontaine’s lawyer contents that the Law of Abandonment applies to these found or discarded treasures. Depending on what the Florida court rules, this case could set a legal precedent that could impact all of us. I would still think that if the court rules that the art was abandoned, fraud charges about forged documents would stick. It just goes to show how untrustworthy some art dealers are. Other victims in this case are the buyer’s who bought the artwork thinking it was legitimate Rauschenberg’s. Fontaine one day saw this trash out on the curb and realized that is was Rauschenberg’s trash, says his lawyer. Fontaine then pulled out of the trash three roles of what are called chromes, which contained Rauschenberg’s signature. Fontaine’s lawyer say’s that his client is not trying to denigrate or degrade the artist in any way. But Fontaine is trying to sell the found work through his association with the Naples gallery. The report states that Fontaine is associated with the Aptivea gallery in Naples. To add insult to injury Fontaine received a 500 dollar grant from Rauschenberg to study art. While Fontaine was a student he put together a presentation of the found artwork for one of his art classes which he called “Walking with Bob”, say’s his lawyer Freeman. Maybe he should have called the presentation, “Walking all the way to the Bank without Bob”. So I guess that another man’s trash is another man’s treasure; maybe…

Yale, Fontaine’s lawyer say’s that his client thinks Rauchenberg is kind of really a nice guy! DUH, the nerve of this guy just frost’s my cake.

MORE: http://www.usatoday.com/money/2008-02-28-rauschenberg_N.htm