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Richard Diebenkorn Prints

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Following a tradition and wanting to extend it – a new definition of Abstract Art. And who could define Abstract Art in such a wonderfully abstract manner? The one and only Richard Diebenkorn.

Well known for his Abstract Expressionism and developing a new form of Northern California realism in the Bay Area Figurative School, Richard Diebenkorn was a contemporary artist who influenced the California School of Abstract expressions during the early 1950s.

Born on April 22, 1922 in Portland, Oregon, Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr had been drawing continually from the age of four. Richard’s parents didn’t quite support his passion for art, but his grandmother supported him by providing him with illustrated books and taking him to galleries. In fact, his parents were also disappointed when he chose to study art and art history instead of the more obvious choices of that era such as law or medicine. But Stanford University is where Richard met his mentors, Victor Arnautoff and Daniel Mendelowitz, and their influence can be seen in his work at the time.

Richard Diebenkorn served in the United States Corps between 1943 and 1945. During the early 1950s, Diebenkorn traveled to various places like Albuquerque, Urbana and Berkeley, and developed his own style of abstract painting. After studying abstract expressionism vigorously in the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), Diebenkorn also taught there from 1947 to 1950.

By mid-1950s, Diebenkorn had become an important figure in the field of Abstract Expressionism and his work was heavily influenced by the Henry Matisse paintings, which he studied in his tour to the Soviet museums of his time. His series of Ocean Park paintings are known to display a prominent influence of Henry Matisse’ French Window and View of Notre Dame.

His most famous work, The Ocean Park series, was developed through a period of 18 years and consists of 135 paintings. Still, despite his active role as an art student and teacher, he is not to have contributed in a revolutionary manner to the narrative of the art history. During this period of creating the Ocean Park series, he worked as a professor with UCLA from 1967 to 1973.

In 1979, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Member, where he became a full Academician in 1982. In 1991, Diebenkorn was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
As a person, Richard Diebenkorn was very private, and was extremely observant of nature and people around him. His style included a unique ability to merge persons and abstraction on the canvas with great fluidity and through delicate touches of his brush. Overall, the paintings depict nature and people in a new fashion as a reflection of Diebenkorn’s quiet thinking, hesitation and cancelled attempts.

His recognitions include selection to the National Academy of Deign in 1979 as Associate Member and was later elevated to a full Academician. Diebenkorn was bestowed the National Medal of Arts in 1991.
Richard Diebenkorn died of complications from emphysema in Berkeley on March 30, 1993.

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