Painter, poet, and musician Larry Rivers was first drawn to abstract painting in the mid-1940s but turned to figurative art, and especially domestic subjects, after seeing a Bonnard retrospective in 1948. This portrait of his mother, whom he described as "a very positive kind of monster," is characteristic of Rivers's combination of naturalism with an expressive style in the vein of de Kooning. Abundant erasures reveal the process of drawing as an act of paring down. They also allow the artist to play with a wide range of tonal gradations. This sheet is representative of Rivers's large drawing production, which includes numerous portraits of relatives and friends, many of whom were artists, poets, and critics.
The Artist's Mother Seated in a Chair
Graphite pencil on paper.
16 3/4 x 13 7/8 inches (425 x 352 mm)
Gift of the Estate of Larry Rivers.
Estate of the artist (Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York)