Executed in 1959, this work will be included in the forthcoming Richard Diebenkorn Catalogue Raisonné and is registered under estate number RD 1265.
Poindexter Gallery, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Robles, Los Angeles (acquired in 1961)
Esther Robles Gallery, Los Angeles (acquired in 1963)
June W. Schuster, California (acquired in 1964)
Gump's Gallery, San Francisco (acquired circa 1971)
Joseph and Deborah Goldyne, Sonoma (acquired circa 1971)
Addison Associates Fine Arts, San Francisco
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2004
Pasadena Art Museum, Richard Diebenkorn, September - October 1960, cat. no. 48
San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Recent Paintings, October - November 1960, cat. no. 24
New York, Poindexter Gallery, Richard Diebenkorn, March - April 1961
Richard Diebenkorn, whose artistic production lingered on the periphery of Abstract Expressionism before emerging as a key figure in the Bay Area Figurative Movement, was influenced by his surrounding environment perhaps more than any other artist of his time. Diebenkorn considered himself a traditionalist and welcomed identification as a landscape and figurative painter. His accomplished manipulation of light can be compared to the way in which Pierre Bonnard's employed bright colors to create a sense of illumination within domestic settings. In this tradition, Diebenkorn boldly introduced a luminous palette of saturated color from layers of paint until a complex impasto was created. In doing so, he imbued paintings with palpable intensity. Fusing spatial and chromatic explorations, he created spontaneity in linear composition with a strong sense of structure, light, color and space.
The abstract graphics and planar quality of Landscape with Three Trees anticipates his celebrated Ocean Park series, which served as the culmination of his dedication to non-objective abstract paintings, as well as his commitment to acute observation of the American Western landscape. As Jane Livingstone noted in the catalogue to the 1998 retrospective of the artist's work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Diebenkorn observed a hierarchy within the lexicon of representation: "The still-life object firmly anchored him in concrete reality; the observed landscape could be more freely interpreted; figure painting held the highest and most challenging set of psychological and methodological imperatives." (Jane Livingston, The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, New York, 1997, p. 50). The richness of color in Landscape with Three Trees indicates a renegotiation of the aesthetics terms within his visual repertoire, and the painting is a verifiable preamble to some of the works that would soon come to define Diebenkorn's career.
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