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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)

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Creator: Larry Rivers
Larry Rivers Brutalist Cast Bronze Sculptures "The King & Queen" 42/50
By Larry Rivers
Located in Miami, FL
Larry Rivers Hand Cast Bronze Sculptures "The King & Queen" 42/50 Offered for sale is a pair of hand-cast gilt bronze brutalist-style sculptures by the American sculptor and artist ...
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Late 20th Century American Brutalist Larry Rivers

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Bronze

Vintage Metropolitan Opera "Madama Butterfly" Framed Lithograph by Larry Rivers
By Larry Rivers
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Bring home a fantastic example of the legendary work of American pop-art icon Larry Rivers (1923-2002). Considered by many historians to be the "godfather" of pop art, this limited v...
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Larry Rivers

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Larry Rivers Color Lithograph, "Nine French Bank Notes"
By Larry Rivers
Located in Toledo, OH
Larry Rivers, born in American, Larry was a musician, actor, filmmaker and artist primarily based out of his home country, as well as, Mexico where he maintained a studio. Larry was ...
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Mid-20th Century Larry Rivers

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Larry Rivers Bronx Zoo 1983 241/250
By Larry Rivers
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Larry Rivers "Bronx Zoo" 1983 241/250 Lithograph on Paper. Printed by Styria Studio and Published by the New York Graphic Society. In very nice condition, un...
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1980s American Modern Vintage Larry Rivers

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Larry Rivers Collage
By Larry Rivers
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Larry Rivers was both an artist, musician and actor. The collage depicts opera divas. The use of celluloid tape as part of the composition was typical in his work.  
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1960s American Vintage Larry Rivers

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“35th New York Film Festival” 1997 U.S. Poster Signed
By Larry Rivers
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Original 1997 U.S. poster by Larry Rivers for the 1963 festival New York Film Festival. Signed by Larry Rivers . Very good-fine condition, rolled. Please note: the size is stated in ...
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1990s American Larry Rivers

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Drawings and Digressions by Larry Rivers, First Edition
By Larry Rivers
Located in valatie, NY
Drawings and Digressions by Larry Rivers. Clarkson N. Potter, New York, 1979. First edition hardcover with dust jacket. 263 pp. Foreword by John Ashbery with 285 illustrations and ph...
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20th Century American Larry Rivers

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Larry Rivers furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Larry Rivers furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of paper and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Larry Rivers furniture, although beige editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Larry Rivers were created in the modern style in united states during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Steve Kaufman, Leonard Baskin, and Ben Shahn. Prices for Larry Rivers furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $99 and can go as high as $6,500, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,925.

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