On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Born Joseph Ruiz, in Louisiana, José de Rivera was an important abstract sculptor of the mid-twentieth century. His career culminated with the commission for a large-scale outdoor sculpture for the Mall in Washington, D.C. As with Alexander Calder, the most famous Aamerican abstract sculptor of the last century, de Rivera seems to have made jewelry for most of career but never actively retailed it. This abstract, biomorphic brooch is made of stainless steel, his preferred material for his sculpture but a relatively unusual choice for American jewelry in the mid-twentieth century. The historical importance of the brooch is heightened by rare documentation. In 1947, de Rivera made two brooches for his sister-in-law Elva Ruiz, who was married to his half brother Gordon, and his niece Muriel. Iin a letter to Elva, de Rivera terms the pieces “sculpture brooches” and adds that “I hope that you will like the shapes and wear them—also that they will give you some pleasure.”
Stainless steel, other metal, suede
Brooch: 3 13/16 x 4 3/8 x 3/8 in. (9.7 x 11.1 x 1 cm)
Pouch: 1/16 x 3 x 4 15/16 in. (0.2 x 7.6 x 12.5 cm) (show scale)
impressed on middle of back: "DE RIVERA"
pouch impressed on center of flap: "DE RIVERA"
Gift of Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, by exchange
© Estate of Jose de Rivera
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Jose de Rivera (American, 1904-1985). Brooch, 1947. Stainless steel, other metal, suede, Brooch: 3 13/16 x 4 3/8 x 3/8 in. (9.7 x 11.1 x 1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, by exchange, 2008.73a-b. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008.73a-b_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2008.73a-b_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
An abstract biomorphic design comprised of opposing wishbone-shaped curves with rounded edges and curved downward away from the center of the brooch; the upper surface is highly polished, the reverse has a hammered finish and a long, standard hinged pin with a C-clasp. The envelop pouch is formed from a single piece of suede with seamed sides and an open flap.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.