|Birth name||Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg|
August 17, 1923|
Bronx, New York
|Died||August 14, 2002(aged 78)|
|Training||Hans Hofmann School|
|Movement||East Coast Figurative painting, New Realism, Pop Art|
Larry Rivers (August 17, 1923 - August 14, 2002) was an American artist, musician, filmmaker and occasional actor. Rivers resided and maintained studios in New York City, Southampton, New York (on Long Island) and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
Larry Rivers was born in the Bronx, as Yitzhok Loiza Grossberg to Russian Jewish parents. He changed his name to Larry Rivers in 1940, after being introduced as "Larry Rivers and the Mudcats" at a local New York City pub. From 1940-45 he worked as a jazz saxophonist in New York City, and he studied at the Juilliard School of Music in 1945-46, along with Miles Davis, with whom he remained friends until Davis's death in 1991.
Rivers is considered by many scholars to be the "Godfather" and "Grandfather" of Pop art, because he was one of the first artists to really merge non-objective, non-narrative art with narrative and objective abstraction.
Rivers took up painting in 1945 and studied at the Hans Hofmann School from 1947–48, and then at New York University. He was a pop artist of the New York School, reproducing everyday objects of American popular culture as art. He was one of eleven New York artists featured in the opening exhibition at the Terrain Gallery in 1955.
During the early 1960s Rivers lived in the Hotel Chelsea, notable for its artistic residents such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious and multiple people associated with Andy Warhol's Factory. In 1965 Rivers had his first comprehensive retrospective in five important American museums. His final work for the exhibition was The History of the Russian Revolution, which was later on extended permanent display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. During 1967 he was in London collaborating with the American painter Howard Kanovitz.
In 1968, Rivers travelled to Africa for a second time with Pierre Dominique Gaisseau to finish their documentary Africa and I, which was a part of the groundbreaking NBC series "Experiments in Television". During this trip they narrowly escaped execution as suspected mercenaries.
Established as one of America's most important postwar artists, Rivers continued, until his death on August 14, 2002, to exhibit regularly both in the United States and abroad and to create work that combined realistically rendered images within a loosely brushed, quasi-abstract background. His primary gallery being the Marlborough Gallery in New York City. In 2002 a major retrospective of Rivers' work was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Rivers married Augusta Berger in 1945, and they had one son, Steven, as well as an earlier adopted child, Joseph. The couple divorced. He married Clarice Price in 1961, a Welsh school teacher who cared for his two sons. Rivers and Clarice Price had two daughters, Gwynne and Emma. After six years, they separated. Shortly after, he lived and collaborated with Diana Molinari, who featured in many of his works of the 1970s. After that Rivers lived with Sheila Lanham, a Baltimore poet. In the early 1980s, Rivers and East Village figurative painter Daria Deshuk lived together and in 1985 they had a son, Sam Deshuk Rivers. At the time of his death in 2002, Jeni Olin, a poet, was his companion.
Rivers also sustained a relationship with poet Frank O'Hara in the late 1950s and delivered the eulogy at O'Hara's funeral in 1966.
New York University bought correspondences and other documents from the Larry Rivers Foundation to house in their archive. However, both daughters he had with Clarice Price, Gwynne and Emma, object to one particular film being displayed, as it depicts them naked as young children. The film's purpose is supposedly to be a documentation on their growth through puberty, but it was made without their consent. This matter is addressed in the December 2010 issue of the magazine Vanity Fair, and the October 2010 issue of Grazia.
See also 
- J.D. Reed (June 10, 1985). "The Canvas is the Night: Once a Visual Vagrant, Neon Has a Stylish New Glow". Time magazine. "Neon is the strongest, most direct form of illustration," argued Artist Larry Rivers in Rudi Stern's 1979 book Let There Be Neon. "And the canvas is the night."
- Taylor, Kate (July 7, 2010). "Artist’s Daughter Wants Videos Back". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
Further reading 
- Marika Herskovic, New York School Abstract Expressionists Artists Choice by Artists, (New York School Press, 2000.) ISBN 0-9677994-0-6. p. 8; p. 32; p. 38; p. 310-313