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  • In 1969 Richard Diebenkorn remarked “I thought I would continue drawing from the figure indefinitely because for years it was so important in my painting, and when I started this [Ocean Park] series in ‘67, I just stopped, and I haven’t drawn [from the figure] since.” 

     

    Ocean Park 


    Starting in 1967, Diebenkorn dedicated more than 20 years to developing his Ocean Park series, making it the largest body of work he produced in his artistic career. Named after the gritty, beach front community in Santa Monica where the artist worked, the images were not intended to be abstracted landscapes of his surroundings, rather they represented something far more personal.

     

    This series synthesized his process, perspective and sensitivities to what was around him. “Viewers are confronted not with their relationship to and place in the universe but with their own existence and relationship in space and time to the painting. Whatever angst the artist may have experienced in making them, the works themselves evoke a confident calmness.” 

     

    Richard Diebenkorn at Crown Point Press, Oakland, 1986, photograph by Kathan Brown, Courtesy Crown Point Press © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

    Crown Point Press


    The 1960s also began Diebenkorn’s life-long relationship with printmaking. In late 1962 Kathan Brown, the founder of Crown Point Press, got a phone call from Diebenkorn saying he heard about her shop from a graduate student he met while guest teaching in LA. The press happened to be located near his Berkley studio, and he was interested in exploring the process of printmaking. 

     

    Regarding printmaking, Diebenkorn considered it “a refreshing change of pace in my work as a whole which in turn may provide new perspectives on it.” Throughout his career, Diebenkorn painted, drew and printed in tandem; all processes informed and enriched the other.  

     

    Renee Bott and Richard Diebenkorn working at the Crown Point Press studio. © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

    The first series Diebenkorn created at Crown Point, 41 Etchings and Drypoints in 1964 still featured his figurative and still life imagery. Diebenkorn came back to Crown Point Press in the late 70s to create Nine Drypoints and Etchings as well as Five Aquatints with Drypoint. These minimal, modest size images were black and white, graphic and linear. They were reminiscent of drawings he considered to be “the bones of Ocean Park”.

     

    As time went on, Diebenkorn began to trust the printers at Crown Point Press more, which resulted in larger and more ambitious imagery. The 1980s and 90s brought color and dynamism to the work, and Diebenkorn was partnered with master printers that pushed him to see the magic that could really be achieved with printmaking. After the printers pulled proofs, Diebenkorn would visualize and communicate changes by pinning and collaging cut outs from previous proofs. Diebenkorn set his artistic course to “rightness,” a term he used regularly. He followed his intuition and would reassess and adjust as he went along. The goal for him was visual harmony, yet still allowing for “a sudden, surprising contradiction.” The printers were integral in helping strategize and make the necessary changes to the plate. 

     

    Brian Shure, Renee Bott and Richard Diebenkorn work on High Green, 1991 in the Crown Point Press studio, 1992. © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

    High Green, Version II


    The 80s also brought Renee Bott to Crown Point Press. She started as an assistant on Diebenkorn’s Green image, eventually paired with him as a master printer on his future projects including the illustrious High Green.

     

    Richard Diebenkorn’s High Green, Version II is a stunning culmination of a more than 30-year relationship with Crown Point Press and is the last print Diebenkorn made before his death in 1993. High Green, Version II brings together the iconography of Diebenkorn’s infamous Ocean Park series with his intrinsic colorist eye and passion for making prints.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the publisher

    • Artist Biography

      Richard Diebenkorn

      Wholly devoted to painting, Richard Diebenkorn created artworks that often hovered between abstraction and figuration and were committed to exploring the inadequacies of the artform as well as celebrating its triumphs. Diebenkorn pioneered a quintessentially Californian style of abstraction lauded for its lyrical geometry and originally conceived during an epiphanic experience viewing the landscape from an aerial perspective: these paintings are neither fully representational nor abstract, but can be viewed as exploring the interstices between the two concepts and articulating the material experience of life in California. Although these works cemented the artist’s status as one of the premier painters of the postwar era, Diebenkorn oscillated between figuration and abstraction for the entirety of his career, achieving great successes with each new series; he is considered one of the founding members of the Bay Area Figurative Movement and his renowned Ocean Park paintings are considered chief accomplishments of postwar abstraction.

      Diebenkorn’s works betray the painstaking process of their creation. The laborious and contemplative nature of his practice shines through the richly rendered color and translucent striations of drawing, ethereal totems of the artist’s effort. Diebenkorn is considered an essential American abstractionist and his work is represented in many of the most important institutions in the country, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco. 

       
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Property from a Private Midwestern Collection

13

High Green, Version II

1992
Etching and aquatint in colors, on Somerset paper, with full margins.
I. 39 7/8 x 22 7/8 in. (101.3 x 58.1 cm)
S. 52 7/8 x 33 7/8 in. (134.3 x 86 cm)

Signed with initials, dated, annotated 'II' and numbered 20/65 in pencil (there were also 10 artist's proofs), published by Crown Point Press, San Francisco (with their blindstamp), framed.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $151,200

Contact Specialist

[email protected]

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 21 - 22 October 2020