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Self-Portrait with Star

Self-Portrait with Star
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Larry Rivers Self-Portrait
Larry Rivers, 17 Aug 1923 - 14 Aug 2002
Larry Rivers, 17 Aug 1923 - 14 Aug 2002
Graphite and colored pencil on paper
Sheet: 53.4 x 69.7cm (21 x 27 7/16")
Frame: 67.3 x 83.8 x 3.8cm (26 1/2 x 33 x 1 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection Conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Restrictions & Rights
© Larry Rivers/VAGA New York, NY
Object number
Exhibition Label
Self-Portrait with Star
Larry Rivers 1923-2002
In the 1950s, when Larry Rivers started to draw the figure, most of the avant-garde art world considered representation obsolete. But Rivers, as he later explained, was "cocky and angry enough to do something no one in the New York art world doubted was disgusting, dead, and absurd." Studying with Hans Hofmann, Rivers had learned the principles of abstract expressionism but started to incorporate figures into his work in a provocative mix of gestural abstraction, blurred representation, words, and fragmented borrowings from other artists. This 1990 self-portrait was inspired by a photograph shot in the studio through the leaves of foreground plants. Undoubtedly intrigued by the pairing of straightforward representation and enigmatic abstraction, Rivers flattened the space, making the leaves and shadows unreadable. Odd touches of color, including disquieting tones of yellow and excessive redness in the eyes and lips, are unsettling.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
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