Larry Rivers
Parts of the Face: French Vocabulary Lesson 1961

Artwork details

Larry Rivers 1923–2002
Parts of the Face: French Vocabulary Lesson
Date 1961
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 749 x 749 mm
frame: 833 x 833 x 85 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1962
Not on display

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Rivers's early work was influenced by Abstract Expressionist painting, in particular its emphasis on free brushwork and spontaneous effects of surface. While retaining this expressive, painterly style, during the 1950s he began to paint portraits of his family and friends. This painting is of the artist's wife Clarice. It was done while they were living in Paris and attending French lessons. It was inspired by a drawing used in one of the lessons to teach vocabulary for parts of the face. The drip marks and broad brushstrokes make an explicit reference to Abstract Expressionist painting. But in contrast, here this emotive style is deliberately linked with a mundane subject.

September 2004

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