Artist biography

Larry Rivers born 1923

American painter and sculptor, born in the Bronx, New York. Served in the US Army Air Corps 1942-3, then after discharge on medical grounds earned his living for some years playing the saxophone. Started painting in 1945. Attended Hans Hofmann's school of painting 1947-8 and afterwards studied art at New York University under Baziotes 1948-51. First one-man exhibition at the Jane Street Gallery, New York, 1949. Though influenced by the Abstract Expressionists' free brushwork and spontaneous effects of surface, began to paint figure pictures of his family and friends, or based on compositions by Courbet, David, etc. Also began to make life-size figure sculptures in plaster and cement in 1951, and welded metal sculptures in 1957. From 1957, as a precursor of Pop art, made increasing use of images freely developed from mass-produced designs on cigarette packets, bank notes and so on; from the early 1960s also sometimes incorporated cut-out cardboard and wooden forms, electric lights, perspex boxes etc., in his work. Stayed in Paris 1961-2; in London 1964 and 1966-7. Lives in New York, spending his summers at Southampton, Long Island.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.637-8