The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation debuts new and special video on Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné
October 18, 2018
On the second anniversary of Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné (Yale University Press, 2016), the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation is pleased to debut a video on the four-volume definitive resource of the artist’s unique works. The magnificent catalogue, which was produced in association with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, features more than 5,000 artworks illustrated in new color photography and many for the first time. The video explores the culmination of more than twenty years of work the Diebenkorn family initiated after the artist’s death, offering researchers, students, teachers, and aficionados with an informative and visually sumptuous look at the artist’s enormous output and the production of the volumes.
In the opening sequences, viewers are treated to fascinating and lively interviews with curator Jane Livingston, who co-edited the volumes and organized the highly acclaimed retrospective The Art of Richard Diebenkorn (1997) at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Andrea Liguori, Co-Editor and Managing Director of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. Livingston and Liguori were interviewed at the new and expanded SFMOMA in San Francisco, CA within the museum’s elegant and highly acclaimed presentation of Matisse/Diebenkorn, the first major exhibition to explore the profound inspiration Richard Diebenkorn found in the work of Henri Matisse.
Livingston first met Richard Diebenkorn in the early 1970s when, as a 20th century curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, she purchased an Ocean Park painting for the institution. Later, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., she hosted a traveling Diebenkorn retrospective in 1975. In the video, she enthuses in front of the magisterial Ocean Park #122 (1980) that the majority of the work Diebenkorn produced never left his possession and that “one of the big surprises is that no one thinking about Richard Diebenkorn would anticipate that well more than half the work was black and white figurative drawings.” A number of drawings and paintings on paper made in the Albuquerque, Urbana, and “Berkeley abstraction” years that until recently have never been shown, published, or reproduced are depicted in video for the first time by videographer Matthew Pendergast.
Livingston provides viewers with a rich overview, noting that “each volume has its own nature and personality,” including an illustrated chronology featuring the voices of the artist and his wife Phyllis Diebenkorn (d. 2015) and scholarly essays by former SFMOMA Director Gerald Nordland; curator and scholar Steven Nash, co-organizer of Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953–1966 (2013) at the de Young Museum; Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art John Elderfield, who organized The Drawings of Richard Diebenkorn (1989); and former Curator of Modern Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art Ruth E. Fine.
Liguori brings to life for viewers a moment when, after looking at significant amounts of abstract drawings and paintings Diebenkorn produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s, realized she was “looking at a sketch for a very large de Kooning-esque painting—there it was, in 1953, the first sign of figuration.” For aficionados, this period when Diebenkorn began to turn to figurative painting and drawing will be of great interest.
In another sequence, Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, the artist’s daughter, and Richard Grant, Executive Director of the Foundation, speak movingly about the artist and his studio habits, the tenacity and legacy of Phyllis Diebenkorn, and the family’s journey to create the catalogue. Viewers will learn about the rich and stunning color illustrations made possible by Trifolio Press in Verona, Italy, whose proprietary color technology provided a range and depth of printed color that had not been possible until only recently.
The video is now available at diebenkorn.org, which provides unprecedented access to the artist’s work, archives, and information about exhibitions.
About Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation expands knowledge and fosters appreciation of the artist and his role in central artistic developments of the 20th century. The Foundation increases public access to Diebenkorn’s work and understanding of his legacy and times through support of exhibitions, loan of artworks, research, publications, archival services, and digital initiatives.
The artist is on view next year in Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA and the Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD. The 2018 venues included the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, and the Portland Art Museum in Portland, OR. Organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker’s Associate Director and Chief Curator Scott A. Shields, this traveling exhibition is the first to solely examine the work Diebenkorn made prior to his turn to figuration.
Earlier this month, the artist was on view in a special monographic and historic presentation by Van Doren Waxter, New York at Frieze Masters in Regent Park, London, October 4-7, 2018.