Richard Diebenkorn

October 16, 2019 - February 29, 2020
San Francisco, CA


Heather James San Francisco presents an exhibition of Richard Diebenkorn’s work on paper. Diebenkorn was known for his defining role in both West Coast Abstract Expressionism and later the Bay Area Figurative Art movement, a counterpart to and rejection of the abstraction that dominated post-war New York City. This selection of the artist’s works emphasizes the wide range of the artist’s visions.

The centerpiece in the exhibition is “Green” (1986), a large-scale work displaying his mastery of etching, aquatint, and drypoint and his ability to translate is Ocean Park paintings into paper. “Green” is considered Diebenkorn’s greatest print, and editions can be found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Other works on paper include “Blue Surround” (an edition can be found in SFMoMA’s collection), “Touched Red” (an edition can be found in the National Gallery of Art in D.C.), and “Untitled” (1970) (an edition can be found in the De Young Museum in San Francisco).

A delightful highlight in the show is “Untitled” (c. 1951), the only known extant sculpture by Richard Diebenkorn. Made around 1951 from welded scrap iron, the sculpture is unique in his oeuvre. The work has been paired with his drawing, “Untitled (Urbana Series)” (1952), created shortly after, which displays Diebenkorn’s exploration of the line in abstraction.

Within this selection of works, from drawing to prints to his singular sculpture, the exhibition immerses the viewers within his intense study of form, color, and abstraction. Richard Diebenkorn’s control over ink and structure reveals itself in both the subtle marks and the vibrant shifts in color. Although closely associated with California and the Bay Area, this exhibition underscores Diebenkorn’s universal appeal and his contribution to the wider history of art.