Richard Diebenkorn: Figurative Works on Paper

Overview

"The work of Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) alternates between his two distinct and mutually masterful modes: the figurative and the abstract. Collected here for the first time are rarely seen and largely unpublished figurative drawings and paintings on paper which represent a period of exploration and innovation." "Dating from roughly the mid-nineteen fifties to the late sixties, these fully developed and important works do more than just illuminate Diebenkorn's mastery of the representational. Preceding, as they do, his famed Ocean Park era,
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Overview

"The work of Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) alternates between his two distinct and mutually masterful modes: the figurative and the abstract. Collected here for the first time are rarely seen and largely unpublished figurative drawings and paintings on paper which represent a period of exploration and innovation." "Dating from roughly the mid-nineteen fifties to the late sixties, these fully developed and important works do more than just illuminate Diebenkorn's mastery of the representational. Preceding, as they do, his famed Ocean Park era, they also highlight the influence of his figurative gifts on his wellknown abstract work." Published in conjunction with John Berggruen Gallery, who first mounted a major exhibition of these pieces, this revealing collection features forty-two drawings, paintings, and gouaches, accompanied by an introduction by John McEnroe and essays by Barnaby Conrad III and Jane Livingston. Beautifully reproduced on the page, Richard Diebenkorn: Figurative Works on Paper fills a key gap in the literature of this premier American artist.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This chapbook of uncollected figurative images by West Coast artist Richard Diebenkorn, known mostly for his abstractions, brings together a body of work that precedes his most famous Ocean Park paintings, and perhaps sheds some new light on them. In drawings, paintings and gouaches of nude and clothed women, the pictures range broadly in mood and execution: some of them are shadowy and brooding, others crudely, brightly patterned, still others reminiscent of youthful coffeehouse art. Throughout all, however, the images display confident brushwork and coloration, and a searching, complex relationship to their subjects. Numerous of them bear a freshness that would fit in the contemporary art world's most recent return to drawing. Although in some ways minor to Deibenkorn's oeuvre, even these smaller efforts have their gravity in the context of his imposing legacy. In the accompanying essays, Jane Livingston and Barnaby Conrad deliver solid art scholarship and personal recollection, respectively, while John McEnroe compares the artist's canvas to a tennis court ("His ability to move between serious exploration of abstraction and representational art reminds me of someone who began his career playing mainly from the baseline, later learned how to attack the net, and then settled back to using his ground strokes"). (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco) has assembled lesser-shown figure paintings and drawings of the late 1950s and early 1960s by noted California artist Diebenkorn (1922-93) and reproduced them here for the first time. Two brief essays follow an introduction by tennis star/collector John McEnroe. Former Corcoran curator Livingstone (The Art of Richard Diebenkorn) critically assesses the works, emphasizing Diebenkorn's straddling of the figurative and the abstract and his use of color to "invent incomparable worlds." On the other hand, Conrad, a painter and collector, relates personal reminiscences of meeting Diebenkorn in his studio in the 1970s and the exacting standards that the artist demanded. The 42 color plates range from suggestive female nudes in charcoal and ink wash to painterly portraits in striking hues. Although the book's production is high quality, the textual contents are thin-its significance lies in its presentation, for further appraisal, of these unique figurative works. A full-scale treatment of the artist can be found in Gerald Nordland's Richard Diebenkorn (2001), a comprehensive life and work, or in Livingstone's The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, a Whitney Museum exhibition catalog (1997). Art school, academic, and museum collections will benefit most from purchasing this catalog, as will large public libraries with strong collections in American art.-Ellen Bates, New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811842181
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Pages: 116
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barnaby Conrad III is a painter and the author of ten books including Absinthe: History in a Bottle, published by Chronicle Books (0-8118-1650-8).

Jane Livingston is an author and independent curator who authored the Whitney Museum catalog The Art of Richard Diebenkorn.

John McEnroe is a former tennis champion and current collector and dealer of fine art. He lives in New York City.

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