Larry Rivers

(The Bronx, New York, 1923 - 2002, Southampton, New York)

Lady from Panama Street


Oil on linen

33 1/2 x 27 3/4 in. (85.1 x 70.6 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Purchased with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sisler McFawn Foundation, and the L. L. Bottsford Estate Fund


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A notoriously nonconformist painter, poet, musician, printmaker and sculptor, Larry Rivers built an important bridge between 1950s Abstract Expressionism and early 1960s Pop artists. His loose style maintained the expressive, gestural quality of abstract painters of his time but also incorporated the figure and recognizable imagery often sourced from mass media. In 'Lady from Panama Street', Rivers merges drawing with painting in a distinct style and technique he developed in the 1950s. Layers of pencil-like markings, washes of pigment and swaths of color build up to a finished portrait that communicates some, but by no means all, details of the subject’s appearance. The sitter, Frances Propper, rejected the portrait her husband had commissioned as a wedding gift, claiming that it resembled her sister more than it did her. As Rivers blithely recalled, "because you can't sell a portrait of one person to someone else, we changed the name to 'Lady from Panama Street'."


Signed "Rivers '58" LR, recto

Modern Art