Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled, 1950
Oil on canvas, 48 x 33 1/4 in. (121.9 x 84.5 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Bequest of Josephine Morris, 2003.25.2
© The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
In 1950, Richard Diebenkorn enrolled on the GI Bill in the master’s program in art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The vast desert landscape and brilliant light of New Mexico immediately impacted his work. He recalled, “Temperamentally, perhaps, I had always been a landscape painter but I was fighting the landscape feeling . . . in Albuquerque I relaxed and began to think of natural forms in relation to my own feelings.” The predominantly earth-toned palette of Untitled evokes the dry, dusty terrain of the New Mexico desert—punctuated at upper left by a brilliant burst of blue that conjures a sliver of sky or water. Diebenkorn’s incorporation of flat fields of color and irregular, almost calligraphic, lines reflects the influence of Abstract Expressionist contemporaries such as Willem de Kooning, while also suggesting a topographic survey.
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