Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley No. 52

Swathes of bright, contrasting colours divide up the canvas into irregular sections. The vivid accents of orange and blue, and the lively and vigorous brushstrokes evoke the light and colour of Berkeley in California. Spending much of his working life on the West Coast, Diebenkorn absorbed and reproduced the area's particular quality of light. He always had an intimate struggle with paint, more concerned with the actual process of painting than with the subject matter. He was influenced by many abstract painters, from the reductive analysis of Mondrian, to De Kooning's expressive style, Matisse's colour and Hofmann's exploration of shifting picture planes. In the mid-1950's he switched to figurative painting before returning to abstraction with his famous <i>Ocean Park</i> series. Although primarily an abstract painter, Diebenkorn displayed little of the personal angst associated with the New York Absract Expressionists and remains difficult to categorize.

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