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Selected Works

Ocean Park Series #49
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Richard Diebenkorn, American (1922-1993)
Oil on canvas
93 x 81 in. (236.2 x 205.7 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by Paul Rosenberg and Company, Mrs. Lita Hazen, and David E. Bright Bequest
Acquired in 1973

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Purchased with funds provided by Paul Rosenberg and Company, Mrs. Lita Hazen, and David E. Bright Bequest

Born in Portland, Oregon, and reared in San Francisco, Richard Diebenkorn found his earliest artistic inspiration on the opposite coast during World War II. While stationed at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, he visited a Washington, D.C., gallery and saw Henri Matisse's work for the first time. Matisse's technical mastery and his revisiting of subjects in multiple paintings -- the view from a window, for instance -- made a lasting impression on Diebenkorn.

Diebenkorn's work from the postwar era of the late 1940s and early '50s was influenced by Willem de Kooning and other masters of the innovative Abstract Expressionist style. But even at the height of Abstract Expressionism, Diebenkorn's work retained a connection to landscape painting. In 1954 Life magazine called his work "abstract landscape," a term which could be applied to the Ocean Park series.

Diebenkorn began the series, which would eventually grow to more than 140 paintings, in 1966 while teaching at UCLA. (He taught for much of his life, including posts at the California School of Fine Arts and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.) Daily walks to his studio took him through the Santa Monica Park, which he explored in this series of large canvases. The paintings echo each other: Formal aspects -- the ruler-straight lines, some visible, others almost rubbed out -- and the sensuous blended colors recur in most. But each finds this "abstract landscape" in a different mood almost becoming a chronicle of the light and composition at play in the park and the adjoining ocean.

Never a doctrinaire Abstract painter or Realist painter, Diebenkorn rejected identification with any one school. Indeed, the Ocean Park series, the culmination of his work as an artist, may be seen as a combination of abstract, realistic, and specifically Californian approaches to art.

Ocean Park Series #49 has been part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Modern and Contemporary Art Department since 1973. The department places great emphasis on exhibiting art created in Southern California.

American Gothic | Ceremonial Drum | City Landscape | The Hours of Queen Isabella the Catholic
Stag at Sharkey's | Still Life with Two Lemons | An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima
Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir | Standing Bodhisattva | Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child
Netsuke: Baku, Monster Who Eats Nightmares | Ocean Park Series #49 | Bis Poles | Royal Statuary of Hatshepsut
Tughra of Suleyman the Magnificent | The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit | Grand Piano | Mimbres Bowl

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