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The Beginnings of Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

Produced on the occasion of Richard Diebenkorn: Paintings and Works on Paper 1946–1952 (March 19 – August 21, 2020), a historical exhibition at Van Doren Waxter in New York devoted to the artist’s stylistic and technical origins and shot on location twice during the early months of the pandemic when the exhibition was closed to the public, the video features interviews with Daisy Murray Holman, Head of Archives at the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation and Rachel Federman, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings, The Morgan Library & Museum. Together, they ground the viewer in the artist’s early body of work, or as Federman says, “Diebenkorn before Diebenkorn.”

Diebenkorn and the Aerial View feat. curator Emma Acker

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

A digital discussion with Emma Acker, Associate Curator of American Art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, about Richard Diebenkorn’s use of aerial perspectives in many of the abstract and representational works he produced while living in Northern California as a way to express his visual, sensory, and emotional impressions of the unique climate and topography of the Bay Area—a landscape in which he was deeply rooted.

The discussion is moderated by Joyce Alcantara, Digital Engagement Coordinator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

My Father: Richard Diebenkorn

Academy Art Museum

Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, the daughter of artist Richard Diebenkorn, shares her insights and thoughts on the life and art of her famous father. In this intimate and thoughtful discussion, Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant reflects on his personality, career and the environment in which he produced his exceptional body of work.

Introduced by Ben Simons, Director of the Academy Art Museum, Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant spoke as part of the Kittredge/Wilson Speaker Series, while Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 was on view at the museum in Easton, Maryland from April 26–July 10, 2019.

Michael Zakian on Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955

Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

Michael Zakian, director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, in Malibu, CA, reflects on Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955. The presentation was special as it was the only Southern California venue for the traveling exhibition, and as Zakian has remarked, “Many of the early images, influences, and references that later defined Diebenkorn’s mature drawings and paintings began here in Southern California.” The video features rarely seen and beloved works on paper, paintings, and archival photography. Of the installation at the Weisman and its impact on the public, Zakian remarks that “it shows Diebenkorn’s genesis” and that artists “really have to go through a struggle” of testing and experimenting.

Organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, the exhibition was the first to solely examine the work Diebenkorn made nearly 25 years before his epic Ocean Park series. Beginnings featured approximately 90 works and focused exclusively on paintings and drawings made between 1942 and 1955.

Finding Diebenkorn’s Underpainting

Content Magazine

Katherine Van Kirk experiences galleries a little differently than your typical art museum frequenter. When she takes in a piece, her eyes are drawn to that patch of acrylic thicker than the rest of the paint, that unrelated fleck of color peeking through a crack line, that odd bit of texture mismatched with the natural flow of brush strokes. These details, so often overlooked, prompt Van Kirk to wonder if the work is hiding secrets underneath its surface.

Van Kirk, an undergraduate at Stanford University, shares her experiences of finding a hidden “underpainting” beneath renowned Bay Area artist Richard Diebenkorn’s work Window, part of the permanent collection of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.

Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955

Crocker Art Museum

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.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné

Yale University Press in association with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

In a rare and special video featuring artworks and archival photography, Jane Livingston, co-editor of Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné (Yale University Press, 2016), joined by Andrea Liguori, Managing Director of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, and Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant and Richard Grant, Executive Director of the foundation, together speak about the four-volume reference of more than 5,000 works illustrated in stunning new color photography and exhaustive documentation. Livingston, who organized the highly acclaimed retrospective The Art of Richard Diebenkorn (1997) at the Whitney Museum of American Art, provides an overview of the volumes, enthusing that over half of the works produced by the artist in his lifetime never left his possession, and many of these drawings and paintings on paper had never before been reproduced and are “brand new to the world.” The video was produced at SFMOMA inside the museum’s 2017 presentation of Matisse/Diebenkorn and in Berkeley, CA.

Jane Livingston: On Richard Diebenkorn

San Francisco Art Institute Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series

Jane Livingston speaking at the San Francisco Art Institute, March 14, 2017

The majority of works Richard Diebenkorn produced never left his possession, and many of these drawings and paintings on paper were never reproduced or seen until the publication of Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné (Yale University Press, 2016). Co-Editor Jane Livingston spent over a decade sequencing more than 5,000 of the artist’s unique works for the publication, including: sketches; drawings; paintings on paper, board, canvas; and sculptural objects, which she likens to “throwing a deck of cards into the air and trying to make sense of them.” Livingston presents approximately 200 of these paintings and drawings that remained private and hidden for years, from the bright and light to the humanist and existentialist—a surprising “underbelly” of Diebenkorn that reveals the anxiety and difficulty, not simply the joy, that the American artist encountered in his life and process.

The program was made possible by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Long Regard

Richmond Art Center

Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, daughter of Richard Diebenkorn, and Kathan Brown, founder of Crown Point Press and printer and publisher of the artist’s significant work in intaglio, talk about the long span of years watching Diebenkorn at work and being engaged by his process. The lecture took place in the gallery during the exhibition Closely Considered – Diebenkorn in Berkeley from September 14 to November 16, 2014.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Sketchbooks Revealed

Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences

Throughout his long career, Richard Diebenkorn kept a sketchbook—a “portable studio,” as he called it—to capture his ideas. These books span 50 years and represent the range of styles and subjects he explored, including deeply personal portraits of his wife, studies of the figure, landscape studies and compositions that point to Diebenkorn’s signature blend of figuration and abstraction.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Sketchbooks Revealed at the Cantor Art Center explored the relationship between his sketchbooks and his paintings and included loans of early works that Diebenkorn created as a Stanford student from September 9, 2015–August 22, 2016.

Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant on the Life and Art of her Father | Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, daughter of Richard Diebenkorn, shares her insights and thoughts on the life and art of her father. Her lecture is introduced by Timothy Anglin Burgard, the Ednah Root Curator in Charge of American Art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and co-curator of the exhibition Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953–1966 from June 22–September 29, 2013.

Richard Diebenkorn: Two Weeks in January, 1986

Crown Point Press

The artist at work on three etchings in Crown Point Press’s Oakland studio: the large aquatint Green, an unnamed image that was never editioned, and the softground etching, Red Yellow Blue. Features the printers Marcia Bartholme, Hidekatsu Takada, Larry Hamlin, and Renee Bott. A film by Kathan Brown; distributed by Crown Point Press, San Francisco.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series

The Corcoran School of Art at George Washington University

Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series was the first major museum exhibition to focus on the artist’s most celebrated body of work, named after the Southern California beachfront community where Diebenkorn worked between 1967 and 1988. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, its only East Coast venue, featured more than 80 works, including large-scale paintings, smaller paintings made on cigar box lids, mixed-media drawings on paper, monotypes, and prints from June 30–September 23, 2012.

The video features the exhibition’s curator, Sarah C. Bancroft, and the Corcoran’s Chief Curator and Head of Research, Philip Brookman, reflecting on Diebenkorn’s powerful abstract investigations of space, light, and color, which evoke landscape and architectural forms as well as the sense of place that defined the California coast during this time.

From the archives: Artist Richard Diebenkorn

CBS Sunday Morning

In this report for “Sunday Morning,” which originally aired on December 27, 1988, correspondent David Browning visited Diebenkorn’s studio in California’s Sonoma County, to discuss the artist’s “trial and error” approach; and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where Diebenkorn was being celebrated by a one-man show of his drawings.

Richard Diebenkorn

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Produced on the occasion of the traveling retrospective exhibition organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Richard Diebenkorn: Paintings and Drawings, 1943–1976. Features the artist at the exhibition’s opening in Los Angeles and in his Ocean Park studio with appearances by Irving Blum, Maurice Tuchman, Paul Kantor, William Brice, and Billy Al Bengston. Presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and TVTV Inc; directed by Tom McGuire.