Ocean Park, No. 6
1968 Richard Diebenkorn Born: Portland, Oregon 1922 Died: Berkeley, California 1993 oil on canvas 91 3/4 x 71 3/4 in. (233.2 x 182.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Arthur J. Levin in memory of his beloved wife Edith © 1968, Richard Diebenkorn 1999.17 Not currently on view
Diebenkorn maintained that while he was often pigeonholed as either a figural painter or an abstract artist, he was always, at heart, a landscape painter. Ocean Park, No. 6 has something of all three Diebenkorns. The overlapping planes of color recall the view from above as the artist flew over Southern California noting the "ghosts of former tilled fields [and] patches of land being eroded." The progression evokes a flattened topographical image of dry hills descending to roads, sand, and water. But Diebenkorn upended the traditional landscape format from a long horizontal to a vertical. The canvas measures almost eight feet, or the reach of a grown man extending an arm upward. And the suggestion of pink-tinged flesh is unmistakable, as if Diebenkorn's memory of two bathers spooning on the beach intruded into his abstract composition.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
paint - oil
fabric - canvas