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Corcoran Gallery of Art opens Richard Diebenkorn. The Ocean Park Series

The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design presents Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, a retrospective on view JJune 30–September 23, 2012, of one of the most important bodies of work in American abstract painting. On view on the East Coast exclusively at the Corcoran, The Ocean Park Series is the first major museum exhibition to focus on this influential series made between 1967 and 1988.

Richard Diebenkorn Ocean Park #79, 1975 Oil on canvas 93 x 81 in. (236.2 x 205.7 cm) Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and with funds contributed by private donors, 1977 ©The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn Image courtesy The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn

The exhibition features nearly 80 works—large-scale paintings, smaller paintings made on cigar box lids, mixed-media drawings on paper, monotypes, and prints— brought together for the first time to offer a full exploration of the series through the varied media in which Diebenkorn worked.

Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993) was a pivotal figure in the history of modern painting. The Ocean Park series is distinguished by large, luminous paintings that build upon a grid-like system, with extensive reworking and scraped layers of translucent paint—processes that are discernible to the viewer. His works on paper, including prints, drawings, and collages, are equally important, exploring the same visual territory as the large-scale canvases.

Consisting of monumental, geometric panes of saturated color, the ethereal and powerful paintings in the Ocean Park series capture the psychology of place that defined the California coast during this time and showcase the innovations and improvisations of an artist whose work inspired legions of artists and greatly advanced the lexicon of abstraction.

“These works are powerful investigations of space, light, composition, and the fundamental principles of modern abstraction, bringing together concepts forged by artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso,” said Philip Brookman, chief curator and head of research at the Corcoran and the coordinating curator of the exhibition. “Diebenkorn investigated the tension between the real world and his own interior landscape to produce some of the most innovative,23, 2012.

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