For a better view of the website, update your browser.
Those browsers has new features built to bring you the best of the web.

Jose de Rivera

American, 1904-1985


Curating Works


Jose de Rivera was a self-taught American sculptor who was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1904. Jose de Rivera grew up and worked on a sugar plantation fixing farm machinery. de Rivera learned blacksmithing and machine work on the plantation, skills which he would later use to make art. Jose de Rivera dropped out of high school but finished at a boarding school. de Rivera moved to Chicago in 1924 at the age of twenty. He worked as a journeyman for seven years making tools, pipe fitting, and die-casting. He also studied drawing with muralist John W. Norton and worked for the Federal Arts Project of the WPA. In 1932, de Rivera made a trip to Europe and when he returned, he knew that he wanted to sculpt. At the end of 1932, de Rivera moved to  Manhattan. de Rivera also worked as a model maker for Sikorsky Aircraft. He served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II. In 1946, de Rivera had his first one-man show at the Mortimer Levitt Gallery in New York. 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. Many of de Rivera’s sculptures are steel or bronze bands twisted into three dimensional shapes. His work is highly crafted, buffed, and polished. His works are in the collections of MoMA, Whitney, Tate Modern, Smithsonian, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,and Metropolitan