Rivers, Larry,1923–2002, American artist, b. New York City as Yitzroch Loisa Grossberg. Originally a jazz saxophonist, he turned to art in the 1940s. Reacting against abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
..... Click the link for more information. , Rivers turned to the figure, as in his 1954 series of nude studies, including Double Portrait of Birdie. An excellent draftsman, a multimedia experimenter, and a cultural provocateur, he was among the first to use popular images in his paintings and was thus a forerunner of the pop artpop art,
movement that restored realism to avant-garde art; it first emerged in Great Britain at the end of the 1950s as a reaction against the seriousness of abstract expressionism.
..... Click the link for more information. movement. Rivers reached the height of his powers in the mid-1960s and continued to paint in a figurative style, often incorporating into his work stenciled lettering, photographs, and other elements. His themes range from eroticism to social concern, and his canvases are painted in a lively and seemingly spontaneous manner, usually with a cleverly ironic edge.
See his autobiography (1992); study by S. Hunter (1969).
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Rivers, Larry (b. Larry Grossberg)(1923– ) painter, sculptor; born in New York. A professional musician, he studied at the Julliard School of Music (1944–45) before studying art with Hans Hofmann (1947–48). He traveled widely, but was based in Southampton, Long Island from 1953. A teacher at many schools, he is known for ironic historical works, such as Washington Crossing the Delaware (1953), and realistic paintings, such as Double Portrait of Birdie (1955). He also worked as a sculptor, specializing in figure studies. An abstract expressionist as well as a predecessor of pop art, he is respected for his versatility as an artist.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.