April 22, 1922. Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr. was born on April 22, 1922 in Portland, Oregon. His family moved to San Francisco, California, when he was two years old. From the age of four or five he was continually drawing. In 1940, Diebenkorn entered Stanford University, where he met his first two artistic mentors, Professor Victor Arnautoff who guided Diebenkorn in classical formal discipline with oil paint, and Daniel Mendelowitz, with whom he shared a passion for the work of Edward Hopper. Hopper's influence can be seen in Diebenkorn's representational work of this time. In this image: Richard Diebenkorn's painting 'Ocean Park No.129', 1984.
The period of Diebenkorn's figurative work corresponds (with the exception of the last of the Berkeley abstractions in 1955) to his remaining years as a teacher in the Bay Area (until about 1966). With Park, Bischoff and other artists such as Nathan Oliveira (b 1928), William Theo Brown (b 1919) and Paul Wonner (b 1920), Diebenkorn became known as one of the founders of the Bay Area figurative school.
The surface of Diebenkorn's paintings tells the viewer much about the manner in which he works. This is true of all of his work. The multi-layered, built-up quality of the surface reveals many revisions and corrections. This is evidence of an active feedback between artist and canvas. Some critics view this aspect of Diebenkorn's work negatively and accuse him of uncertainty and imprecision. On the contrary, "getting it right" is Diebenkorn's chief objective and he does not mind revising things to realize a composition where everything is essential -- nothing is left out.
Reflections on the Painting of Richard Diebenkorn: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.
April 7, 1993