Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings



Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942-1955
at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, USA
8 October 2017-7 January 2018

Organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker, this traveling exhibition is the first to solely examine the work Diebenkorn made prior to his switch to figuration. It focuses on the artist’s stylistic and technical origins in oil, watercolor, gouache, ink, crayon, and collage, tracing Diebenkorn’s evolution from representational landscape, to semiabstract and Surrealist-inspired work, to his mature Abstract Expressionist paintings from the Sausalito, Albuquerque, Urbana, and early Berkeley years. Accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly publication by Crocker Art Museum Associate Director and Chief Curator Scott A. Shields, the exhibition counters the prevailing notion that Diebenkorn began his career as a painter in the Abstract Expressionist style. In fact, Diebenkorn himself placed his beginnings in representation. “Though his evolution was rapid, he [Diebenkorn] did not suddenly arrive on the scene as an Abstract Expressionist prodigy,” asserts Shields. “He investigated many styles and ideas to get there.”

The examination is a landmark contribution to the study and understanding of Diebenkorn, who Shields asserts is “the greatest artist California has yet produced.” Later periods in the artist’s development have been surveyed in exhibitions and publications, but Beginnings is both the first full-scale exhibition and publication to chronicle the artist’s paintings and drawings from early to mid-1940s, as well as the mature abstractions that the artist started to make later in the decade while on the faculty of the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) in San Francisco.

(adapted from the venue’s press materials)


Crocker Art Museum
216 O Street
Sacramento, California 95814 USA
(916) 808-7000

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10AM-5PM
Thursday, 10AM-9PM


by Richard Diebenkorn
cut-and-pasted and torn-and-pasted paper, construction paper, crayon, gouache, graphite, charcoal, and cut-and-pasted cardboard on paper
c. 1946
catalogue raisonné no. 484
© Richard Diebenkorn Foundation