Born in Portland, Oregon (1922). Family moved to San Francisco Bay Area (1924). Attended Stanford University (1940–43; BA, 1949). Studied at University of California, Berkeley (1943) while serving in the U. S. Marine Corps (1943–45). Attended California School of Fine Arts (1946). Lived in Sausalito, California, and taught at the California School of Fine Arts (1947–50). Studied at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (MFA, 1951). Taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana (52-53). Began the Berkeley series of abstract expressionist paintings (1953). Began working figuratively, drawing from the model and painting still lifes, landscapes and interiors (1955). Taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland (1955–59). Taught at the San Francisco Art Institute (1959–63). Lived in Santa Monica and taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (1966–73). Began the Ocean Park series (1967). Moved to Healdsburg, California (1988). Elected to The Royal Academy, London (1992). Died in Berkeley, California (1993).
Museum exhibitions include: The Drawings of Richard Diebenkorn, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; traveled to San Francisco Museum of Art and The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1988–89). Blue Surround, Evolution of Print, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (1994). Major traveling retrospective: The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1997–98). Clubs and Spades, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2002). The Ocean Park Series, Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth; traveled to the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2011–12). The Berkeley Years, 1953–1966, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco; traveled to the Palm Springs Art Museum (2013–14). Richard Diebenkorn, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2015). Richard Diebenkorn: The Sketchbooks Revealed, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University (2015-16).