(1922 - 1993)

Richard Diebenkorn was a rarity among his peers in that he was equally at home with both abstraction and representation throughout his career. "I was never throwing things away when I switched from one way of painting to another," Diebenkorn stated. "You can see a continuum from representation to abstraction, although I must say it never felt like a smooth transition while I was in the middle of it."

Diebenkorn began his career as an abstract painter, but around 1955 he, along with his colleague and predecessor David Park, began experimenting with painting subjects drawn from life in an effort to inject new energy into their Abstract Expressionist canvases. Together with Park and Elmer Bischoff, Diebenkorn started painting landscape, figure, and still life subjects while maintaining Abstract Expressionist concerns such as thick, gestural brushwork, an intense palette and an emphasis on the flattened picture plane, thus launching the movement that is now referred to as Bay Area Figuration.


Richard Diebenkorn
Cigar Box Lid No. 5
7.5 x 5.5 inches
Oil on wood