Organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker Art Museum, Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 was the first to solely examine the work the artist made prior to his switch to figuration. It focused on Diebenkorn’s stylistic and technical origins in oil, watercolor, gouache, ink, crayon, and collage, tracing Diebenkorn’s evolution from representational landscape, to semiabstract and Surrealist-inspired work, to his mature Abstract Expressionist paintings from the Sausalito, Albuquerque, Urbana, and early Berkeley years.
Accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly publication by Crocker Art Museum Associate Director and Chief Curator Scott A. Shields, the exhibition countered the prevailing notion that Diebenkorn began his career as a painter in the Abstract Expressionist style. In 2018, Beginnings traveled to The David Owsley Museum at Ball State University, Muncie, IN; and Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR. In 2019, the exhibition was on view at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA; and Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD, through July 10, 2019.