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Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) was an American painter and printmaker whose early work was associated with the abstract expressionist movement and the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Diebenkorn served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945, stationed in Quantico, Virginia. During this time, he experimented with abstract watercolor and representational sketches. Returning from military duty to San Francisco in 1946, Diebenkorn took advantage of the G.I. bill to study at the California School of Fine Arts. In late 1955, Diebenkorn's work was representational of landscapes, figure studies, and still lifes, departing from his early abstract period. He moved from Berkeley to Santa Monica, California in 1966, where his Ocean Park series was created, seen as his return to abstract painting.


In 1976-1977, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery organized a major retrospective, which traveled to Washington, DC, New York City, Cincinnati, OH, Los Angeles, and Oakland, CA. By this time, Diebenkorn had secured his status as an established American artist. In 1988, a major exhibition and book by the Museum of Modern Art’s curator, John Elderfield, was created of Diebenkorn’s works on paper, following the entire range of his stylistic journey through the 1980s.

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