José De Rivera created some of the most elegant forms in sculpture of the twentieth century
over a career that spanned fifty years. The artist is best known for his looping linear
constructions in stainless steel and brass, produced from the 1950’s – 1980’s, that were the
first to articulate a line in space. Lesser known are his early works: highly stylized and
streamlined representations of animals, human figures, and brightly colored metal shell
forms that cup and release spatial volume.
While the pieces in this exhibition range stylistically from representational to abstract, they
are unified by what De Rivera called the “beauty and source of excitement”’ in sculpture….
“the interdependence and interrelationship of the form.”1 Invited to Yale from 1953 – 1955 to
be a visiting sculpture critic, De Rivera sought to show, not merely tell, his students exactly
how he arrived at such balance in his work. He devised thirty-four working models to teach
three-dimensional perceptual design: orbs, ellipses, loops, cubiform and rectilinear solids, all
conceived to be handled, turned, viewed, and experienced on multiple axes. It is our great
pleasure to present the collection of working models in this exhibition. Each expresses in
small format the full range of artistic balance realized in De Rivera’s work in all sizes and
1. See Joan M. Marter, José de Rivera: Constructions (Madrid: Taller Ediciones JB, 1980). p. 59.
Valerie Carberry Gallery is open to the public 10-5, Monday through Friday, and 11-5 on Saturday. For
additional information regarding the gallery, upcoming exhibitions, or reproductions, please contact
Susan Beagley, 312-397-9990.