Richard Diebenkorn, Seawall, 1957
Oil on canvas, 20 x 26 in. (50.8 x 66 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Phyllis G. Diebenkorn, 1995.96
© The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
Richard Diebenkorn grew up in San Francisco, studied at Stanford University, and later taught at the California School of Fine Arts (later the San Francisco Art Institute) and the California College of Arts and Crafts (later California College of the Arts). Diebenkorn was a pioneering figure in both the Bay Area Abstract Expressionist and Figurative movements, and in his work he consistently explored the tensions between abstraction and representation. Based on Diebenkorn’s memories of a trip he took up the Northern California coast, Seawall seamlessly integrates representation with the raw, gestural brushwork and surface richness of Abstract Expressionism. The intimate scale of the work contrasts with the sweeping view of a coastline it presents. From this elevated vantage, the earth below resembles a patchwork of abstract forms while still evoking the elemental encounter of earth, sea, and sky.
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