Richard Clifford Diebenkorn’s Berkeley Period

KatherineAmerican Paintings, Exhibitions to seeLeave a Comment

Richard Clifford Diebenkorn

Between 1946 and 1953, Richard Clifford Diebenkorn moved several times for jobs and opportunities.  He created bodies of work that represent “periods” in his career and artistic development.  The works created during a period reflect the inspiration found where he was living at the time.  He produced abstract or abstract expressionist works as part of his Sausalito Period, Albuquerque Period, Urbana Period and Berkeley Period during these years.

Paintings from Diebenkorn’s “Berkeley Period” are going on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum.  We always like to make you aware of great exhibitions going on to help you develop a good eye for works by an artist.  It’s an important part of being an art collector. Richard Diebenkorn had a deep connection with the unique setting of the Bay Area.  From 1953 to 1966, he painted this series of works with great influence from postwar American art. It was a period that also marked a stark changed for the artist and represented an interesting shift in overall American art in the postwar era.

Richard Diebenkorn, Figure on a Porch, 1959, oil on canvas, © 2013 The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Collection of Oakland Museum of California,

Richard Diebenkorn, Figure on a Porch, 1959, oil on canvas, © 2013 The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Collection of Oakland Museum of California,

Diebenkorn’s change began around the time he moved to Berkeley in the 1950s. He wished to capture the dynamic landscape, but not with his usual approach. Diebenkorn had become weary of the overdramatic nature of abstraction and longed for something new. Fellow artists David Park and Elmer Bischoff encouraged a shift towards figuration. German Expressionism, artists such as Degas, and an interest in the human element in art also spurred Diebenkorn to seek a new style.

Many artists switch from abstraction to figuration, but the works from the Berkeley Period play off of each other. This was not a departure for Diebenkorn, but an exploration. During this time he fused a number of techniques and found his artistic voice. Diebenkorn utilized his new style to capture the dramatic and bright landscape of Berkeley. Each piece from the Berkeley Years is full of light and color – a true celebration of the area. The lines are steady, but the paint is thickly applied. Space is open and sweeping, nothing feels crowded or overworked and the colors are bright yet natural. There is a sense of joy and peace in many of these works.

Starting October 26th through February 16th the Palms Springs Art Museum will be hosting Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years. If you are interested in learning more about this artist to collect wisely, this is a good exhibition to try to see. This will be the first exhibition of its kind—a full exploration of the Diebenkorn’s striking 1953 – 1966 period that brought about many of Richard Diebenkorn’s most iconic works.



Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.


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