Richard Diebenkorn

June 7 - July 14, 2018

First Thursday Reception:
June 7, 6 - 8 pm

On view in the back gallery, and shown concurrently with The Portland Art Museum’s exhibition, Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, are etchings and lithographs made by the artist in the 1960s and 1970s. Richard Diebenkorn was one of the most renowned West Coast painters of the 20th century and the selection of prints are being exhibited in Portland for the first time.

The works on paper reveal Diebenkorn’s interest in figuration and abstraction, and brilliantly exemplify his use of geometry, spatial ambiguity, and structured, formal balance. Printmaking was an integral part of his practice and he enjoyed reworking multiple layers of hand-drawn lines and shapes in his paintings and prints. Diebenkorn demonstrates his love of process in his lithographs and etchings, where the immediacy of his lines are inked in velvety black.  Diebenkorn’s lines are both gritty and harmonious, and visually communicate something  essential and intangible about mark-making.

Richard Diebenkorn was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1922 and grew up in San Francisco, attended Stanford and enlisted in the U.S. Marines. He moved to New York City after he got out of the Marines and returned to the Bay Area in 1947 and lived there until he moved to  Santa Monica, where he taught at UCLA from 1967-1973. Diebenkorn moved back to the Bay Area and lived there until his death in 1993. His first one-person museum exhibition was at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco in 1948. In 1976, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, organized a retrospective that traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and in 1978 Diebenkorn represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. The Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of his drawings in 1988, and in 1997 the Whitney Museum presented a major painting retrospective. In 2016 the SFMOMA and the Baltimore Museum of Art co-curated Matisse/Diebenkorn, which explored the inspiration Diebenkorn found in the work of French artist Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954).