Poindexter Gallery, New York
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in 1958)
Private Collection, Connecticut (acquired from the above in 1986)
Martha Parrish & James Reinish, Inc., New York
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2005
Oakland Museum of California, Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting, September 1957, p. 18, illustrated
New York, Poindexter Gallery, Recent Paintings, February – March 1958, cat. no. 15
A leading figure in the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s, Richard Diebenkorn was an artist who did not shy away from pursuing his stylistic inclinations despite the prevailing expectations of the time. Although his earlier years were spent emulating the Abstract Expressionists of the New York school, Richard Diebenkorn reinvented his style throughout the middle years of his life through a return to figurative painting. After moving to California in 1955, Diebenkorn reexamined the values of light in his paintings. While in Berkeley, Diebenkorn absorbed the bright sunlight of his new environs, allowing the light to flow freely into his brushstrokes.
The artist's dual respect for the animation of the Abstract Expressionists and the light-infused West Coast are clearly evident in his stylistic loose painting flourishes of Still Life. The arranged objects gleam in the airy lightness of his broad brushstrokes. Diebenkorn appears scarcely concerned with depicting the depth or volume of the objects in space, opting instead to give prominence to the texture of his paint medium.
The quartering of Still Life's composition into thick horizontal bars demonstrates Diebenkorn's lingering occupation with abstraction and color. Rich with tonal variety, these spaces of the canvas are stunning for their intense vitality. The artist sees the world – a table top, shade, a lemon – not in single tints but brimming with reflective shades of the color spectrum. While the painting pays homage to the flatness of its two-dimensional form through the broad patches of color, Diebenkorn infuses his subjects with life - this tension is the driving force of Still Life.
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