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Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922-1993)


Richard Diebenkorn matriculated into Stanford University in 1940 where he was mentored by professors Victor Arnautoff and Daniel Mendelowitz, and with influences from Willem de Kooning, he developed his interpretation of abstract expressionism.

After a stint in the Marine Corp during WWII, Diebenkorn went on to teach at the California School of Fine Arts in 1947. He then earned a MFA from the University of New Mexico in 1951, and subsequently taught briefly at the University of Illinois before visiting New York in 1953, a revolutionary moment in his career.

As the birth place of abstract expressionism, New York was highly influential to Diebenkorn’s style, and his work was forever changed after the summer of 1953. After his stay in New York, Diebenkorn returned to Berkeley where he converted to object specific figurativism; however, Diebenkorn did not completely abandon his former art form. Diebenkorn fused the figurativism of Henri Matisse with his former experience as an abstract painter in the Bay Area Figurative Movement. However, in 1967 after accepting a teaching position at UCLA, Diebenkorn returned to abstract expressionism, but with distinctive, immense, and rich geometrical forms, which resulted in his famous Ocean Park series that took eighteen years to develop and comprised over 130 paintings.

Diebenkorn's work was exhibited widely in New York City. In 1956 it was displayed at the Poindexter Gallery, in 1971 at the Marlborough Gallery, and by 1977 his worked was exhibited almost annually via his partnership with M. Knoedller & Company. In 1976, Diebenkorn's work toured Washington, DC, New York City, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Oakland through a retrospective that was organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

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