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ARTnews: He’s Entering the Canon

BY M. H. Miller

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #54, 1972, oil and charcoal on canvas, 100 x 81 in. (254 x 205.7 cm) © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

‘He’s Entering the Canon’: Richard Diebenkorn Foundation Will Issue Catalogue Raisonné This Fall With Yale

Richard Diebenkorn, the versatile artist best known for his association with the Bay Area Figurative Movement and later for his “Ocean Park” series of paintings, will have his catalogue raisonné published this fall by Yale University Press in conjunction with the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. Documenting the complete known works of an artist is always a huge undertaking, but especially so in the case of Diebenkorn, who produced thousands of works in his lifetime, many of which have since been spread out across the country, or in some instances, never saw the light of day at all. Jane Livingston, a co-editor of the catalogue raisonné, estimates that “well over half” of Diebenkorn’s works never left his studio, and remained unpublished, unframed, and hardly even viewed by the artist himself in his lifetime. (Diebenkorn died in 1993.)

Diebenkorn’s widow, Phyllis, who passed away in 2015, helped initiate the project around the time that a number of works with questionable authenticity appeared on the market. Diebenkorn was one of the artists at the center of the forgery scandal that brought down the Knoedler & Co. gallery. He was discussed extensively at a civil trial earlier this year regarding a fake Mark Rothko painting that Knoedler & Co. sold in 2004. Works that were presented as unknown entries in Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series were the first forgeries that Knoedler sold after they were brought to the gallery in 1994 by Glafira Rosales, who would go on to operate a 14-year con through Knoedler that resulted in the sale of some $80 million worth of fake artworks.

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