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Larry Rivers

American, 1923-2002

Figurative artist Larry Rivers was born in the Bronx in 1923 to Ukrainian Jewish parents, and was named Yitzak Loiza Grossberg. Rivers belonged to the second generation of the New York School of painters, although unlike most of his contemporaries he stayed away from abstraction instead preferring narrative paintings. He began his artistic career playing the jazz saxophone, and when one night his group was introduced as "Larry Rivers and the Mudcats," he decided to keep the name.

After a brief period in the army during World War II, Rivers attended Juilliard School of Music for one year before returning to the jazz saxophone. After he met the painter Jane Freilicher, he decided to devote himself to painting. Rivers attended Hans Hofmann's school for nearly two years. In 1949, he had his first solo show at the Jane Street Gallery, an artist's co-op in the Village. Rivers received favorable reviews and was invited to join the Tibor de Nagy Gallery uptown.

Rivers continued to show annually at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery from 1952 to 1962. In 1963, he joined the Marlborough Gallery, where he stayed until his death. In 1955, The New York Museum of Modern Art acquired his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, and in 1956 the Whitney Museum purchased Double Portrait of Berdie, two of his more famous paintings. He had periodic museum shows in Europe and the United States throughout his career.

Rivers had two sons, Joseph and Steven, by his first wife, Augusta. In 1961 he married Clarice Price and had two more children, Gwynne and Emma. In the 1970s he had another son with the painter Daria Deshuk.

The subjects of River's figurative paintings were family, history, politics, religion and sex. His work done in oils often included the use of stencils, cutouts, blank canvas and image reversals. He often painted family members including his mother in law, his sons and his ex-wife. Rivers favored historical subjects such as History of Matzah: The Story of the Jews (1984-85), History of the Russian Revolution (1965) and often painted parodies including his Washington Crossing the Delaware. He enjoyed controversial subjects and shocking the public. Lapman Loves It (1966) is a nine-foot electrified assemblage complete with strategically located light bulbs. French Vocabulary Lesson (1961-62) is a nude with body parts labeled in French.

Rivers was also a writer. In 1979 he published Drawings and Digressions with Carol Brightman. In 1992 he published What Did I Do? The Unauthorized Autobiography with Arnold Weinstein.

Find original Larry Rivers prints and paintings on 1stDibs.

(Biography provided by Lincoln Glenn)

Homage to Picasso
By Larry Rivers
Located in Boca Raton, FL
paper measures 26.5 x 30 inches. Edition PP 4/4 Painter, sculptor, poet, and musician Larry Rivers was an established figure in the New York School, recognized for creating large pa...
Category

20th Century Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Archival Paper

Larry Rivers 1981 Signed Hirshhorn Exhibition Poster
By Larry Rivers
Located in Larchmont, NY
Larry Rivers (American, 1923-2002) Larry Rivers Exhibition, Hirshhorn Exhibition Poster, 1981 Lithograph (?) Sight: 34 3/4 x 24 1/2 in. Framed: 36 x 24 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. Signed and num...
Category

1980s Contemporary Larry Rivers

Materials

Lithograph

Last Civil War Veteran
By Larry Rivers
Located in Palm Desert, CA
"Last Civil War Veteran" is an oil painting on panel made by Larry Rivers in 1961. The artwork size is 9 1/2 x 7 inches. The framed size is 12 3/4 x 10 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches. The work i...
Category

Mid-20th Century Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Oil, Panel

Vintage Pop Art 1997 Offset Lithograph Larry Rivers Music Poster Hamptons NY
By Larry Rivers
Located in Surfside, FL
Larry Rivers "The Music Festival of the Hamptons / July 18-27 1997" poster, Not hand signed. [Dimensions: 24" H x 18" W] Larry Rivers (born Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg) (1923 – 2002) was an American artist, musician, filmmaker, and occasional actor. Considered by many scholars to be the "Godfather" and "Grandfather" of Pop art, he was one of the first artists to merge non-objective, non-narrative art with narrative and objective abstraction. Rivers took up painting in 1945 and studied at the Hans Hofmann School from 1947–48. He earned a BA in art education from New York University in 1951. His work was quickly acquired by the Museum of Modern Art. A 1953 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware was damaged in fire at the museum five years later. He was a pop artist of the New York School, reproducing everyday objects of American popular culture as art. He was one of eleven New York artists featured in the opening exhibition at the Terrain Gallery in 1955 along with Paul Mommer, Leonard Baskin, Peter Grippe During the early 1960s Rivers lived in the Hotel Chelsea, notable for its artistic residents such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious and multiple people associated with Andy Warhol Factory and where he brought several of his French nouveau réalistes friends like Yves Klein who wrote there in April 1961 his Manifeste de l'hôtel Chelsea, Arman, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Christo & Jean Claude, Daniel Spoerri or Alain Jacquet, several of whom, like Rivers, left some pieces of art in the lobby of the hotel for payment of their rooms. In 1965, Rivers had his first comprehensive retrospective in five important American museums. His final work for the exhibition was The History of the Russian Revolution, which was later on extended permanent display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. He spent 1967 in London collaborating with the American painter Howard Kanovitz. In 1968, Rivers traveled to Africa for a second time with Pierre Dominique Gaisseau to finish their documentary Africa and I, which was a part of the groundbreaking NBC series Experiments in Television. During this trip they narrowly escaped execution as suspected mercenaries. During the 1970s, Rivers worked closely with Diana Molinari and Michel Auder on many video tape projects, including the infamous Tits, and also worked in neon. Rivers's legs appeared in John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1971 film Up Your Legs Forever. From 1940–1945 he worked as a jazz saxophonist in New York City, changing his name to Larry Rivers in 1940 after being introduced as "Larry Rivers and the Mudcats" at a local pub. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music in 1945–46, along with Miles Davis, with whom he remained friends until Davis's death in 1991. Larry Rivers was born in the Bronx to Samuel and Sonya Grossberg, Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. In 1945, he married Augusta Berger, and they had one son, Steven. Rivers also adopted Berger's son from a previous relationship, Joseph, and reared both children after the couple divorced. In 1949 he had his first one-man exhibition at the Jane Street Gallery in New York. This same year, he met and became friends with John Ashbery, and Kenneth Koch. In 1950 he met Frank O’Hara. This same year he took his first trip to Europe spending eight months in Paris, France, reading and writing poetry. Beginning in 1950 and continuing until Frank’s death in July of 1966, Larry Rivers and Frank O’Hara cultivated a uniquely creative friendship that produced numerous collaborations, as well as inspired paintings and poems. In 1951 Rivers’ works were shown at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery where he continued to show annually (except 1955) for about 10 years. In 1954 he had his first exhibition of sculptures at the Stable Gallery, New York. In 1955 The Museum of Modern Art acquired Washington Crossing the Delaware. This same year he won 3rd prize in the Corcoran Gallery national painting competition for “Self-Figure.” Rivers’ also painted “Double Portrait of Berdie” in 1955, which was soon purchased by the Whitney Museum. In 1957 he and Frank O’Hara began work on “Stones,” a collaborative mix of images and poetry in a series of lithograph for Tatyana Grosman company ULAE. During this time he also appeared on the television game show “The $64,000.00 Question” where along with another contestant, they both won, each receiving $32,000.00. In 1958 he again spent time in Paris and played in various jazz bands. In 1959 he painted Cedar Bar Menu...
Category

1990s Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Lithograph, Offset

Untitled
By Larry Rivers
Located in Fairlawn, OH
Untitled (Picasso) Screen print, 1974 Signed, numbered and dated in red pencil lower right (see photo) from Homage to Picasso (Hommage à Picasso) Publisher: Propyläen-Verlag, Berlin ...
Category

1970s Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Screen

Untitled
Untitled
H 20.38 in W 29.07 in
Larry Rivers, "Pop Singer" - 1970s Mixed Media Portrait Sculpture
By Larry Rivers
Located in New Orleans, LA
A freestanding 3-dimensional work that wonderfully captures both the spirit and draftsmanship of this great American artist. I have included a pic of an identical sculpture in this s...
Category

1970s Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Mixed Media

At The Dwan Gallery: Historic exhibition poster (Hand Signed by Larry Rivers)
By Larry Rivers
Located in New York, NY
Larry Rivers At The Dwan Gallery: Rivers Small Recent Work (Hand Signed), 1965 Silkscreen on wove paper Hand signed and dated "Rivers, 1965" in graphite pencil lower right front Fram...
Category

1960s Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Screen, Pencil

LARRY RIVERS (hand signed and inscribed first edition book)
By Larry Rivers
Located in New York, NY
Larry Rivers LARRY RIVERS (hand signed and inscribed first edition book), 1989 Hardback monograph with a dust jacket (hand signed and inscribed "Enjoy the Matisse" Signed, dated and inscribed by Larry Rivers in red marker on the title page 11 3/5 × 9 4/5 inches Lavishly illustrated hardback monograph with dust jacket on the occasion of the artist's career retrospective. Text is by the distinguished art historian and Princeton professor Sam Hunter. Hand signed, dated and dedicated in red marker on the title page. Inscription reads: To Joanne and Ira Enjoy the Matisse Larry Rivers, April 2, 1992 About the book: Hunter, Sam. LARRY RIVERS. 358 pp. with 400 illustrations, including 155 plates in color. Folio, cloth. New York, Rizzoli, 1989. New York: Rizzoli, 1989. First edition. Hardcover. 358 pages. Retrospective monograph on Larry Rivers. Features text by Sam Hunter. Includes 400 illustrations of which 155 are in color. Publisher's Blurb: Rivers' public persona as an artist combines that of bohemian outsider, sensualist and entertainer. His best-known images of the 1960s--Dutch Masters cigars, French money, cigarette packs--became Pop icons. Eschewing abstraction, he came up with startling, disquieting figures, such as his obese, sagging mother-in-law depicted in the nude with brutal honesty ( Double Portrait of Berdie ). Yet there is more to Rivers than the hipster, as this lavishly illustrated monograph by a former Princeton art historian shows. Hunter makes a case for Rivers as a social realist: witness his powerful construction piece Ghetto Stoop or recent works that include searching portraits of Primo Levi...
Category

1980s Pop Art Larry Rivers

Materials

Mixed Media, Permanent Marker, Lithograph, Offset

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Find a wide variety of authentic Larry Rivers art available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by Larry Rivers in lithograph, screen print, mixed media and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th century and is mostly associated with the Pop Art style. Not every interior allows for large Larry Rivers art, so small editions measuring 9 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Albert Al Hirschfeld, Tom Everhart, and Michael Knigin. Larry Rivers art prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $100 and tops out at $45,000, while the average work can sell for $3,600.

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