“I’d left all my influences in San Francisco. I left my mentors. I think I was saying to myself in Albuquerque that OK I’m going to damn well paint what I want I’m not going to do this qualifying of my intuitive responses….If grass green and sky blue and desert tan; if these associations come into the work that’s part of my experience.”
- Richard Diebenkorn, interview with Mark Lavatelli, Santa Monica, California, November 1978
Van Doren Waxter is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper from 1949-1955 by Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993). Organized in cooperation with the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Richard Diebenkorn: Early Color Abstractions 1949-1955 features thirty works exhibited for the first time.
Diebenkorn’s early works from the late 40s through the mid 50s are considered among the finest examples of postwar American abstraction. Illuminating Diebenkorn's formative period, they suggest a fluidity present in his later process, which was marked by shifts into figuration and representational forms, and prefigure the iconic “Ocean Park” paintings.
Characterized by gestural, calligraphic lines and lush fields of color, these works reflect the growing momentum of abstraction pushed forward by many artists of the period. Evoking the terrain in which Diebenkorn lived—luminous swaths of ochre and marine tend to dominate—offering a convincing rejoinder to the New York School, and of work by contemporaries like Pollock and de Kooning.
Diebenkorn left Sausalito, California in 1949 to pursue his graduate degree in art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In 1952 he moved again to Urbana, Illinois to teach and then, in 1952, returned to California where he settled in Berkeley. Each new surrounding provoked a change in the artist’s palette and in the overall rhythm of his compositions.
Richard Diebenkorn: Early Color Abstractions 1949-1955 is accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalog, with an introductory essay by Mark Lavatelli, an artist, published writer and Professor of Humanities at Medaille College in Buffalo, NY. This exhibition will also be featured as part of Master Drawings New York, January 23-30, 2016 during which Professor Lavatelli will lead a walk through on January 23 at 4pm.