ORIGINAL WORKS ON PAPER
Untitled (Albuquerque), 1951
Ink and ink wash on paper
frame: 29 1/8 x 23 1/8 x 1 7/8 in. (74 x 58.7 x 4.8 cm)
sheet: 17 x 14 in. (43.2 x 35.6 cm)
Museum purchase; funds provided by the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, and prior gift of Harry A. Astlett
California artist Richard Diebenkorn was one of the most important American painters of the second half of the twentieth century. Although he absorbed a variety of artistic influences, from European modernism to Abstract Expressionism, he purposefully maintained his independence from any one school or style. His long and interesting career followed an unconventional path from abstraction to figuration and back to abstraction.
Diebenkorn's work frequently reflected his environment. This drawing was made in Albuquerque, where he lived while earning an MFA degree at the University of New Mexico. Although small in scale, Untitled (Albuquerque) conveys a feeling of expansiveness, perhaps echoing the open spaces of the surrounding desert. Areas of ink wash spread out over the entire work, with a network of nervous, sketchy lines superimposed over its surface. In the year he made this drawing, Diebenkorn flew from Albuquerque to San Francisco, and the experience of looking down at the landscape below had an impact on his work. He recalled: "The aerial view showed me a rich variety of ways of treating a plane - like flattened mud or paint. Forms operating in shallow depth reveal a huge range of possibilities available to the painter."