Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) was a well-known 20th century American painter associated with Abstract Expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s and '60s. His work is marked by vibrant colors on planar compositions.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Diebenkorn moved to San Francisco as a child. In 1940 he began studies at Stanford University, but his studies were interrupted by the start of World War II. While stationed in Viriginia in the Marine Corps, he was visited a number of important collections of modern art in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York City. He was particularly inspired by works by Henri Matisse at the Phillips Collection in DC. In 1946, he enrolled on the GI Bill at the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute), where he later taught. Diebenkorn was inspired by Henri Matisse and Willem de Kooning, and established himself as an Abstract Expressionist painter. In the mid-1950s he rebuked expectations by returning to figuration. In 1966, he moved to Santa Monica created his "Ocean Park" series, lyrical abstractionist paintings inspired by the light and landscape of California. The series, developed over twenty-five years, became his most famous work and resulted in more than 140 paintings.
Diebenkorn's work can be found in a number of public collections including the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe; Honolulu Museum of Art; Albright–Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.