The artist with wife Phyllis, Spadra, Calif., 1948 © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
Enrolls at California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) in San Francisco on GI Bill. Influential relationships there include Elmer Bischoff, Ed Corbett, Frank Lobdell, David Park, Hassel Smith, Clay Spohn. Takes five classes with Park over the course of the year. Two paintings hang in SFMA’s Tenth Annual Watercolor Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association. Two paintings selected for SixtySixth Annual Exhibition of San Francisco Art Association: Oil, Tempera, and Sculpture.
Uses Albert Bender Grant ($1,200) to live in New York City; assured instructor position at CSFA upon return by the school’s director, Douglas MacAgy. Meets William Baziotes at Samuel Kootz Gallery; also meets Rothko and printmaker Stanley William Hayter of Atelier 17. Finding Manhattan too crowded and expensive, settles in Woodstock, New York, living with his family in a two-bedroom apartment; one room becomes a studio. Follows strict painting practice.
At MOMA, sees Miró’s Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird (1926), Matisse’s Piano Lesson (1916), Picasso’s Three Musicians (1921).
Returns to Bay Area. Teaches at CSFA until January 1950. During his absence, CSFA fully embraced Abstract Expressionism; the number of GI Bill students increased rapidly; Clyfford Still joined faculty; that summer Rothko becomes visiting lecturer. Buys house in Sausalito, using attic as studio. Son, Christopher, born. Reconnects with Park; befriends Elmer Bischoff. Also becomes close with Hassel Smith; the two share a love of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. Park, Bischoff, Smith, and Diebenkorn begin studio visits.
Enters first mature period.
Good friend and CSFA artist Frank Lobdell edits portfolio of lithographs, Drawings, considered the first group portfolio of Abstract Expressionist prints. Diebenkorn and Lobdell participate, known as the Sausalito Moderns. Reads Clement Greenberg’s “The Crisis of the Easel Picture” in Partisan Review, printed alongside four paintings by Willem de Kooning. Becoming increasingly aware of contemporary art.
First solo exhibition hangs at Legion of Honor. More works at San Francisco Art Association (SFAA) annual exhibitions.
Clyfford Still studio visits.
The artist’s first solo exhibition, Richard Diebenkorn, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, Calif., 1948 © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
The artist painting, Spadra, Calif., 1949 © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
BA from Stanford University. Elected chair of SFAA Artist’s Council.
Two Sausalito paintings appear in separate exhibitions at LACMA. James Byrnes, LACMA painting curator, Dr. William R. Valentiner, LACMA co-director, and Paul Kantor of Fraymart Gallery take notice of his paintings.
Applies to masters programs. Leaves CSFA.