Mark Van Proyen reviews the exhibition Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years 1953-1966 at the M.H. De Young Museum, San Francisco, on view through September 29, 2013.
Van Proyen writes that the show "has two undeniable hallmarks, the first being its breathtaking display of sheer painterly virtuosity; the second being the way that it shows the artist taking on all of the already traditional modernist subjects of abstraction, still life, figure and landscape, in every case enlivening them with a fresh and distinctly individual sensibility. And let’s be clear: when I write sheer painterly virtuosity, I mean superlative draughtsmanship and vivacious color manipulation, as well as in almost all cases, a talent for finding the perfect balance points between pictorial and graphic organizations of form, creating picture spaces that perfectly finesse the tension between the dynamic and the static. In short, this exhibition represents a rich and powerful affirmation of painting for the sake of painting, undertaken at the moment just prior to the pandemic of Duchampitus that would keynote the ensuing five decades of art production.