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Portrait of Richard Diebenkorn, 1992, by Chris Felver/Getty Images

Richard Diebenkorn

Featured on the Slate

National Medal of Arts Winner Richard Diebenkorn was best known for his avant-garde, abstract paintings, including his renowned Ocean Park series.

Artist Portfolio

Richard Diebenkorn grew up in San Francisco, attended Stanford University and, as a young Marine stationed at Camp Quantico, visited museums in Washington, D.C. and New York. There, he saw work that inspired his own drawings of fellow soldiers, his surroundings and a few abstractions. After WWII, Diebenkorn returned to the Bay Area to study at the California School of Fine Arts, which was known as a hub of Abstract Expressionism. After his return to Berkeley in 1953, his work explores perspective and ideas of flatness, line and color. Diebenkorn turned to the figure in 1955, meeting once a week with fellow Bay Area Figurative artists to draw from the model. He moved to Southern California in 1966 to teach at UCLA, returning to abstraction and embarking on his celebrated Ocean Park series.

Girl Looking at Landscape, 1957, oil on canvas 59 x 60 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art.
Conversation, 1958, oil on canvas 13 ⅞ x 11 ½ inches. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery.
Girl with Cups, 1957, oil on canvas 59 x 54 inches. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery.
Figure on a Porch, 1959, oil on canvas 57 x 62. Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.