Monday, 16 March 2015

Richard Diebenkorn - Royal Academy

Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley #57, 1955
Richard Diebenkorn is at the Royal Academy of Arts until 7 June 2015.
I had looked forward to this exhibition: I was not disappointed. In fact, my expectations were exceeded: this is a terrific show. 
I have, until now, had little opportunity to see Diebenkorn's work: despite his high standing in the US and his place in the histories of modern art (see, eg, Robert Hughes' Shock of the New (1980) pp159-60) he is, I believe, represented in the UK only by a single print in the Tate. Perhaps, for this reason his unfamiliar work seems so fresh.
As this modestly scaled exhibition makes clear, Diebenkorn began as an abstract painter, turned to figuration, and then turned again to abstraction and to what is generally regarded as the apotheosis of his career: the Ocean Park series. Somewhat to my surprise I particularly liked the middle period figurative work. However, all the work is marked by a finely tuned judgement, a precise balance of colour and form. Beautiful.
Click on images to enlarge.
Richard Diebenkorn, Albuquerque #4, 1951
Richard Diebenkorn, Seated Man, 1956
Richard Diebenkorn, Woman by the Ocean, 1956
Richard Diebenkorn, Girl on a Terrace, 1956
Richard Diebenkorn, Seawall, 1957
Richard Diebenkorn, Scissors, 1959
Richard Diebenkorn, Cityscape #1, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #43, 1971
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #79, 1975
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #116, 1979

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