Born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg, the Texas native was a painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and composer, The New York Times said.
Several of his works -- including "Canyon," which featured a stuffed bald eagle affixed to a canvas; "Monogram," a stuffed Angora goat on top of a painted panel; and "Bed," a quilt, sheet and pillow slathered with paint and framed on a wall -- became icons of postwar modernism.
"I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly," the Times quoted Rauschenburg as once having said. "Because they're surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable."
The Times said once Rauschenberg became successful, he donated millions of dollars to charities for women, children, medical research, other artists and Democratic politicians.
Drafted during World War II, he was stationed in San Diego as a medical technician in the Navy Hospital Corps and later studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Academie Julian in Paris.
Rauschenberg is survived by his son Christopher and companion Darryl Pottorf.