Merce Cunningham never posed in person for Warhol. To create his portrait of Cunningham, Warhol worked from fashion photographer Richard Rutledge's contact sheets. These photographs showed Cunningham performing his dance Antic Meet from 1958. In these photographs, Cunningham is dressed in a costume designed by Robert Rauschenberg and performs his iconographic combinations of bodily gesture and classical dance. Warhol would later collaborate with Cunningham, lending his stage design to the seminal performance Rainforest in 1968.