Larry Rivers

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Larry Rivers
Untitled (Portrait of John Ashbery)
Graphite on page removed from a spiral-bound sketchbook.
14 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches (36.8 x 41.9 cm)
Purchased on the Manley Family Fund.
John Ashbery, David Kermani (Tibor de Nagy Gallery)

A jazz musician turned painter, Larry Rivers achieved notoriety in the 1950s for his painterly brand of realism that combined a reverence for the old masters with experimentations à la de Kooning. Close to artists and poets such as Frank O'Hara, Jane Freilicher, Kenneth Koch, and Fairfield Porter, Rivers met John Ashbery in 1949 and remained close to him throughout his life. This portrait, one of several Rivers made of Ashbery, was created in Paris, where both were living at the time. It is a characteristic example of Rivers' drawing style, in which smudging and erasures play as important a role in the final image as the pencil marks.

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