Lawrence Rubin • Greenberg Van Doren • Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings and works on paper from 1949 through 1955 by Richard Diebenkorn (1922 – 1993). Organized in cooperation with the Estate of Richard Diebenkorn, this exhibition will feature seventeen works by the artist which have, until now, only been on view in museum exhibitions, including the 1998/1999 retrospective “The Art of Richard Diebenkorn.”
Diebenkorn’s early works from the late 40s through the mid 50s are among the finest examples of postwar American abstraction. Characterized by calligraphic lines and shifting fields of color, these works reflect both the broader interest in abstraction shared among many artists of the period and the diverse landscapes in which Diebenkorn lived during these years. Diebenkorn left Sausalito, California, in 1949 to pursue his graduate degree in art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. 1n 1952 he moved again to Urbana, Illinois, to teach, and then, in 1952 returned to California where he settled in Berkeley. Each new surrounding provoked a change in the artist’s palette and in the overall rhythm of his compositions.
The earliest works in the exhibition are five paintings from 1949 created during his Sausalito years. Bold combinations of reds, yellows, blues, and heavy blacks dominate these canvases. Here large fields of color are broken by organic forms. In contrast, Untitled (Albuquerque), 1951, an exemplary work from Diebenkorn’s years in the Southwest, consists of shades of white, grey, and orange. Meandering black lines effortlessly ease their way in and out of the composition. Earthtones punctuated by a rich red are found in a vertical painting, Untitled, 1951. The arrangement of horizontal bands of greens and pinks in the three “Berkeley” pictures in the exhibition, including the spectacular canvas Berkeley 47, 1955, foreshadow Diebenkorn’s famed “Ocean Park” series which he would begin to create thirteen years later.
“Richard Diebenkorn: Early Abstractions 1949-1955” will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue.