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 expressionism , 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 art 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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