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Larry Rivers (American, 1923–2002)
LOT ID: 78581
Untitled, 1980

Graphite, Collage, pencil and tape on paper
13 х 17 in. (33.02 x 43.18 cm.)
Signed, and inscribed "For Emma at 14 Larry Rivers," lower right
Lot description
This whimsical work on paper by Larry Rivers depicts a bespectacled young man wearing a newsboy cap. The artist has bordered this playful graphite 'portrait' with clear tape, imparting a peculiarly personal, hand-crafted quality to the work. The drawing is prominently signed and inscribed "For Emma at 14" at lower right.

Larry Rivers (b. Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg, 1923–2002) was an American postwar artist best known for his figurative paintings. Interested in jazz as a youth, Rivers played the saxophone and studied music at the Juilliard School. After a brief period of service in World War II, Rivers began to paint at the encouragement of his friends. He studied with Hans Hofmann in the late 1940s and, though he was influenced early on by Abstract Expressionist artists, chose to apply his skill in draftsmanship to works depicting naturalistic subject matter with loose, flowing brushstrokes. His affinity for jazz is reflected in the rhythmic visual composition of his paintings. In the 1950s, Rivers received both positive and negative critical attention for his appropriation of famous paintings in his own works, including reinventions of Emanuel Leutze’s "Washington Crossing the Delaware," Édouard Manet’s "Olympia," and paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669), Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780–1867), and Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906). Rivers’s work prefigured many of the concepts pursued by 1960s Pop artists; he incorporated items from mass media and popular culture into his works, as well as unusual materials and found objects. Rivers also collaborated with several artists in a variety of media, including set design, poetry, sculpture, fashion, and music. Beginning in the 1970s, Rivers used airbrushing, stenciling, printmaking, and assemblage in his art. In 1977, Rivers exhibited his work at documenta VI in Kassel, Germany. He has been the subject of retrospectives at the Kunsthalle in Munich, the Stattliche Kunsthalle in Berlin, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Rivers continued working up until his death in 2002.

Selected Public Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Baltimore Museum of Art, MA
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Dallas Museum of Art, TX
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Jewish Museum, New York, NY
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Tate Modern, London, England
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Untitled by Larry Rivers
  • Untitled by Larry Rivers
  • Untitled by Larry Rivers
  • Untitled by Larry Rivers
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