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José de Rivera papers, 1930-1991

Creator:
De Rivera, José Ruiz, 1904-1985  Search this
Subject:
Marter, Joan M.  Search this
Goldsmith, Howard  Search this
Ashton, Dore  Search this
Smithsonian Institution  Search this
American Iron and Steel Institute  Search this
Exposition universelle et internationale  Search this
New York World's Fair  Search this
Topic:
Sketchbooks  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Collages  Search this
Sculpture, American  Search this
Hispanic American artists  Search this
Sketches  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)  Search this
Transcripts  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Interviews  Search this
Drawings  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Blueprints  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9304
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211499
AAA_collcode_derijose
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Art Movements and Schools
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211499
Additional Online Media:

José de Rivera papers

Creator:
De Rivera, José Ruiz, 1904-1985  Search this
Names:
American Iron and Steel Institute  Search this
Exposition universelle et internationale (1958: Brussels, Belgium)  Search this
New York World's Fair (1964-1965)  Search this
Smithsonian Institution  Search this
Ashton, Dore  Search this
Goldsmith, Howard  Search this
Marter, Joan M.  Search this
Extent:
5.6 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Drawings
Collages
Sketchbooks
Interviews
Transcripts
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Blueprints
Photographs
Date:
1930-1991
Summary:
The papers of sculptor José de Rivera date from 1930 to 1991 and measure 5.6 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical materials, letters, scattered personal business records, commission files, art work including four sketchbooks, printed material, and photographs. One of the commission files includes a motion picture film.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of sculptor José de Rivera date from 1930 to 1991 and measure 5.6 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical materials, letters, scattered personal business records, commission files, art work including four sketchbooks, printed material, and photographs. One of the commission files includes a motion picture film.

Biographical material consists of a biographical account, resumé, military service records, an interview transcript, certificates, addresses, and miscellaneous notes and writings.

Twenty-nine folders of letters are primarily from de Rivera's patron, attorney Howard Goldsmith, but also include single letters from Marcel Breuer, John Canaday, Emlen Etting, Dag Hammarskjold, and G. Vantongerloo.

Scattered personal business records include rental records, sculpture inventories, a contract, receipts, and miscellaneous records.

Commission files contain letters, contracts, receipts, clippings, blueprints, miscellaneous printed material, and photographs concerning several of de Rivera's commissions, including Brussels Construction for the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, his sculpture for the 1964 New York World's Fair, and Infinity, commissioned for the Smithsonian. A file for Construction #73 completed for the American Iron and Steel Institute also contains a reel of 16mm motion picture film.

Art work consists of four sketchbooks, drawings, and geometric collages including detached cut out shapes.

Printed material includes primarily clippings and exhibition announcements and catalogs. There is also a copy of the book José de Rivera Constructions by Dore Ashton and Joan M. Marter. Photographs are of de Rivera, miscellaneous art-related events, his studio, his art works, and of miscellaneous exhibition installations. Commission files also contain photographs.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1942-1984 (Box 1; 11 folders)

Series 2: Letters, 1938-1988 (Box 1; 29 folders)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1947-1984 (Box 1; 11 folders)

Series 4: Commission Files, 1955-1977 (Box 1-2, 6-7, OV 10, FC 13; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 5: Art Work, 1960-1984 (Box 2, 6, OV 8; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1931-1991 (Box 2-4, 6; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, 1930-1985 (Box 4-7, OV 9-OV 10; 1.7 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
José de Rivera (1904-1985) worked primarily in New York as an abstract expressionist sculptor known for twisting steel or bronze bands into space-defining three-dimensional shapes.

José A. Ruiz was born on September 18, 1904 in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the son of Joseph and Honorine Montamat Ruiz. He would later take the surname of his maternal grandmother, de Rivera. Early in his life his family moved to New Orleans where his father was a sugar mill engineer on a plantation. De Rivera became adept at repairing machinery and doing blacksmith work with his father. Shortly after completing high school in 1922, de Rivera moved to Chicago where he was employed in foundries and machine shops as a pipe fitter and tool and die maker. His 1926 marriage to Rose Covelli ended in divorce.

Beginning in 1928 de Rivera attended night drawing classes conducted at the Studio School by painter John W. Norton. De Rivera was impressed by the Egyptian collections at the Field Museum. The work of Mondrian, Brancusi, and Georges Vantongerloo also exerted a strong influence on him. In 1932, he traveled through southern Europe and North Africa visiting Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Egypt. Upon his return to the United States he decided to become a sculptor.

From 1937-1938, de Rivera was employed by the Works Progress Administration-Federal Art Project and created the sculpture Flight for the Newark, New Jersey airport. During World War II, he first served in the U.S. Army Corps from 1942 to 1943. For the following three years, he designed and constructed ship models used as training aids in the U. S. Navy.

De Rivera's first solo exhibition was in 1946 in New York at the Mortimer Levitt Gallery. In 1953, de Rivera taught sculpture at Brooklyn College. For the following three years, he was a critic in sculpture at Yale University and taught at the School of Design at North Carolina State College from 1957 to 1960. De Rivera married Lita Jeronimo in 1955.

In 1961 de Rivera was given a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. One of his most notable works Infinity was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution for the front of its newly built Museum of History and Technology in 1963.

José de Rivera died on March 19, 1985 in New York City.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel N70-32) including biographical material, correspondence, writings, drawings, printed material, and photographs. Loaned material was returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
In 1970, José de Rivera loaned the Archives of Amrican Art material for microfilming. The artist and the Grace Borgenicht Gallery donated additional papers in 1982 and De Rivera's son, Joseph A. Ruiz II, gave more material in 1998.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The José de Rivera papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Hispanic American artists  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Sculpture, American -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Collages
Sketchbooks
Interviews
Transcripts
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Blueprints
Photographs
Citation:
José de Rivera papers, 1930-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.derijose
See more items in:
José de Rivera papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-derijose

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