Valerie Carberry Gallery

JOSÉ DE RIVERA (1904-1985)
1904 Born in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he spent the first years of his life living on a sugar plantation and refinery where his father worked as an engineer. During this time, he became familiar with machinery and tool-making, and observed blacksmithing, boiler-making, and pipe fitting.
1924 After his graduation from high school in New Orleans, de Rivera moves to Chicago, where he finds work immediately in a machine shop.
1928 Enrolled in night classes at the Studio School of Fine Art, where he is encouraged by an instructor, John Norton, to experiment with three-dimensional forms.
1930 Created his first sculptures, Owl and Bust. Exhibited Bust at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture.
1931 Spent a year in Europe, North Africa and Greece studying painting and sculpture. Returned a year later to New York. There, he associated with other artists interested in vanguard concepts and industrial materials, such as Alexander Calder, Theodore Roszak, and David Smith.
1936 Included in the Second Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture, Drawings, and Prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Meets Burgoyne Diller, then working as the Assistant Technical Director of the Works Progress Administration, and executes several projects under his direction, including Flight for the Newark Airport.
1939 Commissioned to fabricate a stainless steel relief for Soviet Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair; there, he also exhibits Life, a carving in black granite.
1942-45 Enlisted in the U.S. Army and stationed in North Africa.
1946 First solo exhibition held at Mortimer Levitt Gallery in New York City.
1953-60 Held teaching positions at Brooklyn College, Yale University and School of Design at North Carolina State College. Commissioned for a large-scale tubular construction for the United States Pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair.
1961 Retrospective organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art (traveled to eight U.S. museums).
1967 Participated in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Sculpture of the Sixties.
1972 Retrospective organized by the La Jolla Museum of California and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
1985 Died in New York City.