Larry Rivers Works
Larry Rivers, Dutch Masters - Presidents, 1991 Screenprint and offset lithograph in colors 31 3/4h x 39 3/4w in Larry Rivers was an American artist whose work fused the lively mark-making of Abstract Expressionism with the commercial images of advertising. Often viewed as a precursor to Pop Art and artists like Andy Warhol, Rivers’ paintings and his ironic attitude towards his own and others’ artwork marked a significant break from his peers, and the more serious intentions of the Abstract Expressionist painters that came before him. Born on August 17, 1923 in the Bronx, NY to Jewish Ukrainian immigrants, he changed his name at 17 from Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg to Larry Rivers. He studied with Hans Hofmann in the late 1940s, and chose to apply his skill in draftsmanship to works depicting naturalistic subject matter with loose, flowing brushstrokes. Beginning in the 1970s, Rivers used airbrushing, stenciling, printmaking, and assemblage in his art, and was an integral member of the Chelsea Hotel scene as well as a frequent guest at Warhol’s Factory. The artist had a major retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 2002, the same year as his death on August 14, 2002 in New York, NY at the age of 78.
Larry Rivers was born as Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg in the Bronx, New York in the family of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. 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.
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.
He has been contextualised as working out of the Abstract expressionist legacy of Willem de Kooning, "adapting the freedom of the Abstract Expressionist technique towards figurative ends." 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's 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, 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 1967, 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.
1923 - 2002
Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA