José de Rivera American, 1904-1985


Highly regarded by museums and critics, José de Rivera’s delicate, elegant, curvilinear forms executed in aluminum, stainless steel and bronze, sometimes polished to a high sheen, sometimes painted, and often motorized, set a standard for craftsmanship and artistry. Born in Louisiana in 1904, José Ruiz learned machine work and blacksmithing on the plantation where his father was employed, skills that he would later utilize to great effect. After studying art in Chicago, and now with the last name de Rivera (his maternal grandmother’s), he relocated to New York to establish himself as a sculptor. His first major commission, created under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration, was a 66-inch aluminum alloy depiction of Flight installed at Newark Airport, New Jersey. After serving in the air corps in WWII de Rivera returned to sculpture, mounting his first solo exhibition in New York in 1946. Numerous exhibitions and commissions would follow distinguishing his five-decade career.

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