Richard Diebenkorn

About the Artist

Richard Diebenkorn

“deYoung Seawall” by RichardDiebenkorn by ed and eddie CC BY-SA 2.0

Richard Diebenkorn was an American abstract expressionist painter, who marched to the beat of his own drummer, ignoring art trends and painting the light and landscapes that he glimpsed from his Ocean Park studio.

Early Life and Education

Richard Diebenkorn was born in Portland, Oregon in 1922 and raised in San Francisco. As a very young child of four or five, Diebenkorn began to draw. Diebenkorn attended Stanford University when he was eighteen and received training in both classic painting and modern realism. It was there that he met his wife, Phyllis Gilman. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945, Diebenkorn traveled around the country, developing his own unique style, and returned to San Francisco in 1946, to study at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. After teaching at the school for three years, Diebenkorn attended the University of New Mexico’s graduate program.


Diebenkorn was fairly successful during his early career, but it was in 1967, when he moved to Santa Monica to teach at UCLA, that he began to create the Ocean Park series that gained him public acclaim. The Ocean Park series, made up of more than 100 paintings, were done from 1967 to 1988, when Diebenkorn was living in the Ocean Park neighborhood, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The paintings are abstract, architectural views of the area, that reflect the colors and light that Diebenkorn saw from his studio.


The Ocean Park series has been been exhibited throughout the world. Diebenkorn was elected to the National Academy of Design and awarded the National Medal of Arts. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Carnegie Institute, the Whitney and other fine venues worldwide. Diebenkorn died at his home, in Berkeley, in 1993, and was survived by his wife, Phyllis, and their son and daughter. His Ocean Park paintings have garnered $8 million and more per piece.

2021-05-28T08:11:38-04:00 September 13th, 2016|

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