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Jose de Rivera, 1937

Jose de Rivera (September 18, 1904 Baton Rouge, Louisiana - March 12, 1985 New York City) was an American abstract sculptor.[1][2]

Life and career

Jose de Rivera grew up in New Orleans. He dropped out of high school, but finished at a boarding school. He worked on a plantation fixing farm machinery. In 1924, he moved to Chicago. He studied drawing with muralist John W. Norton and worked for the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration.

In 1932, he moved to Manhattan. He also worked as a model maker for Sikorsky Aircraft. He served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II, and at the Training Aids Development Center.

In 1946, he had his first one-man show at the Mortimer Levitt Gallery, New York City.

In 1947-52, de Rivera's Black, yellow, red (1942) was exhibited in the 25-venue Painting toward architecture exhibition organized by the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art. The artwork received a lot of media attention during the exhibition and, for example, was the artwork spotlighted (via the one photo accompanying the article) in the New York Times article about the first venue of the exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT.[3] A photo of the artwork was also used to accompany an article about the exhibition in Newsweek.[4][5] Black, yellow, red was also featured in Henry-Russell Hitchcock's accompanying book Painting toward architecture (1948), with foreword by Alfred Barr of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.[6] The artwork was also the basis for the cover of a Miller Company heater design catalogue, thematically called "A spiralating heat wave".[7]

In 2002-03, the Valerie Carberry Gallery in Chicago exhibited Jose de Rivera: Abstract Sculpture, Painting and Works on Paper.[8]


  • Black, Yellow, Red, (1942). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.[9]
  • American Pavilion at the Expo 58
  • Construction #46, Chazen Museum of Art[10]
  • Form, 1964 World's Fair [11]
  • Infinity, 1967, National Museum of American History
  • Construction #105, 1968, Rochester Institute of Technology [12]

Other works by Rivera are in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC[13] and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.[14]



  1. (March 23, 1985). "Jose de Rivera, Noted for Metal Sculptures, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  2. (Undated). "Jose de Rivera 1904-1985". Tate Gallery, London, website. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  3. Louchheim, Aline B. (December 21, 1947). "Using the abstract: Hartford show reverals how industrial firm puts a collection to work". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  4. (January 19, 1948). "Art in the factory". Newsweek. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  5. (July 16, 2016). "The Painting toward architecture exhibition (1947-52) by the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art: Venues, documentation, and media coverage". artdesigncafe. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  6. Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. (1948). Painting toward architecture. Miller Company: Meriden, CT. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  7. Louchheim, Aline B. (December 1947). "Abstraction on the assembly line". ARTnews. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  8. (Undated). "Jose de Rivera: Abstract Sculpture, Painting and Works on Paper". Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, website. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  13.[dead link]

External links

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