Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008) was an American painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the Pop art movement. Rauschenberg is well known for his Combines (1954-1964), a group of artworks that 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 textiles.

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.  

The Samarkand Stitches, produced after Rauschenberg visited the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand (one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia), is a suite of wall hangings made from sewn fabric, printed with photographs then silkscreened.