Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park 116, 1979
Oil on canvas, 82 x 72 in. (208.3 x 182.9 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, gift of Mrs. Paul L. Wattis, 2000.20
© The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
In 1966, Richard Diebenkorn moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica. Shortly thereafter, he traded a windowless studio for a large, bright space overlooking a landscape that encompassed the surrounding streets and rooftops, bathed in the effects of coastal light. These environs, combined with the geometry of the studio’s transom windows, inspired Diebenkorn to initiate a series that would occupy him for more than twenty years. The luminous Ocean Park series followed a decade of figurative work. Marking a remarkable shift, works such as Ocean Park 116 reflect Diebenkorn’s dexterous abstraction of light, color, and geometry. He explained, “If you don’t assume a rigid historical mission, you have infinitely more freedom. One of the most interesting polarities in art is between representation at one end of the stick, and abstraction at the other end, and I’ve found myself all over that stick.”
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