Larry Rivers

Larry Rivers


Nationality: American

Birth Place: Bronx (New York state, United States)

Larry Rivers and his art do not situate within a singularly defined label. As an artist of many forms, Rivers was a painter, sculptor, poet, television and lecture circuit personality, and even an accomplished jazz musician. He was born Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg in the Bronx, New York in 1923, and it wasn’t until 1940 that he changed his name. After a short service in the US Army Air Corps during World War II, he attended Juilliard to study music theory and composition. It was in 1945 that he began his career in painting, spending a few years studying under Hans Hoffmann and the influence of Abstract Expressionism. After receiving his bachelor’s from New York University, he continued his studies and received honorary doctorates from several institutions.

Rivers’ painting transitioned away from his teachings of Abstract Expressionism, instead developing his own style in which he facilitated his drawing and use of figurative subjects from his everyday life into his work, creating a new dynamic that blurred the lines between pure abstraction and familiar imagery. This technique of merging painting with drawing is best expressed in Washington Crossing the Delaware, a pivotal work in Rivers’ career. The painting incorporated a familiar subject matter in a stylistic manner of multiple-pose montages. This painting served to create a type of spiritual bond with the great history paintings that Rivers had seen at the Louvre with his own style. It was this iconoclastic nature of his that strongly influenced the ideologies that Pop Art later played upon. In accordance to his paintings, a large part of Rivers’ artistic career was collaborating with others. He developed strong creative friendships with Frank O’Hara, as well as with the poet Kenneth Koch, Jean Tinguely, and even Jack Kerouac.

One of his largest, yet underappreciated contributions to the art world was being one of the key founding fathers of Pop Art, which became a movement uniquely defined by those characteristics of Rivers, an artist whose personality strongly influenced the perception of his art. Rivers helped found the origins of Pop Art, but due to the nature of his work, many consider him a post-Abstract Expressionist. His art continued to develop through his lifetime, and later in his life he even revisited early interests like fashion design. With a major retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and two other exhibitions scheduled in 2002, Rivers continued to work up until three months before his death in August. To this day, Rivers’ unyielding spirit influences contemporary artists.


Larry Rivers Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
LARRY RIVERS (American, 1925-2002) The Young Archer, 1995 Oil on canvas mounted on sculpted foamboard 56-1/2 x 45 x 5
LARRY RIVERS (American, 1925-2002)The Young Archer, 1995Oil on canvas mounted on sculpted foamboard56-1/2 x 45 x 5...
Lot 72251
Auction 5172
Saturday, May 31, 2014
LARRY RIVERS (American, 1925-2002) Teen, 1968 Collage of painted plastic, charcoal and pencil on paper laid down on bo...
LARRY RIVERS (American, 1925-2002)Teen, 1968Collage of painted plastic, charcoal and pencil on paper laid down on bo...
Lot 72028
Auction 5083
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
LARRY RIVERS (American, 1925-2002) Summer: Sam and His Crossbow, 1995 Charcoal on paper 51 x 37-1/2 inches (129.5 x 9
LARRY RIVERS (American, 1925-2002)Summer: Sam and His Crossbow, 1995Charcoal on paper51 x 37-1/2 inches (129.5 x 9...
Lot 72250
Auction 5172
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Larry Rivers (1925-2002) Seated Figures, circa 1957 Mixed media with collage on paper 13-5/8 x 11 inches (34.6 x 27.9
Larry Rivers (1925-2002)Seated Figures, circa 1957Mixed media with collage on paper13-5/8 x 11 inches (34.6 x 27.9...
Lot 69023
Auction 5315
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Larry Rivers (1925-2002) Kitchen, 1981-86 Lithograph in colors 12 x 12 inches (30.5 x 30.5 cm) (sheet) Ed. 123/200
Larry Rivers (1925-2002)Kitchen, 1981-86Lithograph in colors12 x 12 inches (30.5 x 30.5 cm) (sheet)Ed. 123/200...
Lot 15152
Auction 191727
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.

Buy Larry Rivers

ItemCurrent Bid or Price
Larry Rivers (1925-2002) Dutch Masters (Presidents), 1990 Offset lithograph and screenprint in colors on paper 25 x 3
Larry Rivers (1925-2002)Dutch Masters (Presidents), 1990Offset lithograph and screenprint in colors on paper25 x 3...
Lot 12109
Auction 191809
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Larry Rivers (1925-2002) Portrait of an Artist (Howard Kanovitz), 1960 Oil on canvas laid on panel 21 x 19 inches (53...
Larry Rivers (1925-2002) Portrait of an Artist (Howard Kanovitz), 1960 Oil on canvas laid on panel 21 x 19 inches (53... (1)

Auction 5357
Thursday, May 24, 2018

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