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Richard Diebenkorn – An Artist’s Dwelling (10)

Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr. was born on April 22, 1922 in Portland, Oregon. His birth helped to “Keep Portland Weird” as they say. His family moved to San Francisco, California, when he was two years old. He was a wunderkind and was continually drawing from the age of four onward. He worked in hippie-dippie, liberal and idealistic locales ranging from New York City, Woodstock, New York to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Urbana, Illinois and Berkeley, California. Diebenkorn served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 until 1945 but was stationed in Virginia and Hawaii during those years. His “wartime” work was comprised of vaguely humorous, dark charcoal sketches. He used the time he had while stationed to tour important museum collections and to internalize favorite traits and styles of artists such as Hopper, Matisse, and Gorky.

Richard Diebenkorn in Studio

Via.

 Richard Diebenkorn in his studio by Manitoba Museum of Finds Art

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio by Manitoba Museum of Finds Art
Richard Diebenkorn Negatives or Polaroids
The many emotions, phases and figurative positioning of Richard Diebenkorn via Eye-Likey.

Once the war was over, he moved back West and came to define the California school of Abstract Expressionism of the early 1950s. The field of art was only just “invented” in the 1940’s, in New York City and was still a burgeoning field. Interestingly, for a modern artist, Diebenkorn embraced art’s academic institution, both as a student and teacher, holding numerous professorships all over the Midwest and West Coast. He even studied under the G.I. Bill.

In 2008, when the Obamas first were looking to update the storied White House art collection to include modern art and work by minorities and women, they approached The National Gallery of Art.  A large-scale painting by Diebenkorn titled “Berkeley No. 52” was in the mix.

A painting from Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series.

A painting from Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series is in this neutral master suite. The interior designer, Douglas Durkin reinvented this San Francisco apartment and allowed it to be dictated by the art: “The interior design is about serving the collection.” Image via Architectural Digest.

Sheila Bridges in Elle DecorA Victorian townhouse  in New York City gets a museum worth update by Sheila Bridges. Artwork in the living room includes, from left, a photo by Mark Heithoff and prints by Richard Diebenkorn and Sonia Delaunay; the zebrawood cocktail table has a stainless-steel base.Image via Elle Decor.

Untitled work by Richard Diebenkorn. Photography by Scott Frances

Playing with architectural right angles, this many-rectangled room features an untitled work by Richard Diebenkorn. Photography by Scott Frances. Image via Architectural Digest.

Room & Board - Diebenkorn

Abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn’s work was an exploration of form, color and poetic metaphor. He combined landscape influence, aerial perspective, and a private, calligraphic language into a dynamic style that engages and excites the viewer. Framed Diebenkorn work “Ocean Park 116”, 1979 via Room & Board.

Ocean Park Series 23, Diebenkorn

Patsy Tarr in front of ‘Ocean Park Series 23’ by Richard Diebenkorn in the living room. The bronze coffee table is by Alberto Giacometti. I’ll take one of each please! Image via New York Social Diary.

Diebenkorn’s compositional strengths gather around distinct, sensually drawn lines. Many of his series feature overlapping, translucent and scraped colors and paint. A process that is discernible to both artist and viewer. Leaving one to wonder what exactly is underneath each layer. It’s hard to describe the artist’s breadth of work the artist created – they are both muted and bright, mechanical and organic, representational and abstract. Some are small, claustrophobic and intimate, others grid-like and huge, echoing with emotion. Regardless of style, his works are powerful investigations between the interaction of space, landscapes, color and light. All somehow yearning and lonely, hearkening on the confusion of a single atom in a large universe.

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio at Main Street and Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica, ca. 1970–71. Photo by Richard Grant. Courtesy of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation and Richard Grant

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio at Main Street and Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica, ca. 1970–71. Photo by Richard Grant. Image from the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation and Richard Grant.

Diebenkorn c. 1980's

Diebenkorn c. 1980’s via Eye-Likey.

Diebenkorn by Lyon

Richard Diebenkorn  by Fred Lyon, 1958. Image via 1stdibs, here.

Richard Diebenkorn

The “Ocean Park” Series Via Lisa Call.

Over the years his palette changes: flesh tones and grays are replaced by kitten-tongue pinks and blues, and then by deeper and darker contrasts of yellow, poppy orange and grass green. “The idea is to get everything right—it’s not just color or form or space or line—it’s everything all at once.” —Richard Diebenkorn

How can you live inside the whitewashed, soft pastel, multifaceted, and transient world of Richard Diebenkorn? Take heed:

Diebenkorn_InteriorDesign

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

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Mod About You

The alternate title I wanted was also “Mod, Mod, World”.


Elle Italia, 1992 (Here.)



(F*** Yeah 60’s Fashion!)

The term “Mod” is actually short for “Modernist” which was the term avant garde Jazz musicians used to describe their new creations in the 1950’s. The style, as we know it, was originated in London via working class, foppish, homosexuals. Many middle to upper class Jewish individuals joined the cause alongside London-based East Enders. The style of the “mod” subculture was derived from Italian fashions and things worn to beatnik coffee shops. The “mod” niche co-opted much of its symbolism from Jamaican Ska Colors, African American Jazz, bespoke Italian Suits, and anti establishment ideals. The British Mod style emerged from a desire among British youth to break away from the stiffness of “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” and their parents’, working class clothing.   Sociologist Simon Frith calls “Mod” the “first sign of a youth movement”, youths would meet collectors of R&B and blues records, who introduced them to new types of African-American music, which the teens were attracted to for its rawness and authenticity, they also watched French and Italian art films and read Italian magazines to look for style ideas. The Mod color palette usually ecompasses the primary colors (red, yellow, blue). Technically speaking, British Mods were actually part of larger gangs, traveling via scooter, and often their message was a bit violent (if not exciting). The Mods frequented clubs such as the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, and the Flamingo and Marquee in Soho. Riffing on the symbolism of the “mod’s” color scheme and often times revolutionary mores Barnett Newman created Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? in 1966.

Barnett Newman, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, 1966.

Whereas the “mod” subculture is short for the term “modernist” many “mod” painters used bold patterns, anti-establishment techniques, and youth culture to create “modernism”.  Piet Mondrian was already using primary colors to challenge past “traditional art” motifs. He was also inspired by jazz, as noted in the title of his unfinished painting Victory Boogie Woogie (1942–44).

Piet Mondrian, Composition 10, 1939–1942, private collection

Marimekko at Crate and Barrel, NYC, 2012. The design shop had its origins in the 1950’s in Finland, but it’s most iconic prints hail from the 1960’s, greatly influenced by the “mod” aesthetic.

Clearly the “mod” boldness, colors, and youth culture are experiencing a bit of a revival and resurgence in Fashion Week’s 2012 Ready To Wear Lines both by Alice + Olivia and Kate Spade’s collaboration with fashion photographer Garance Doré

Images from Alice + Olivia and The New York Time’s coverage of Fashion Week 2012.

So how does this all translate into Interior Design? Midcentury furniture with a modular, almost futurist curvature help. Also, wallpaper in large, bold, repetitive patterns – usually with an amorphous, floral shape. The two images below actually show a subdued color palette based in watercolors and pastels.

Vintage French Flag Framed in Black
$600 – roomandboard.com

sasha rug in rugs | CB2
$399 – cb2.com

Marimekko Joonas 20 Pillow
$73 – crateandbarrel.com

Zebra Frame 4″ x 6″
addisoncollection.net

Marimekko Kivet Black Standard Sham
$32 – crateandbarrel.com

I believe in the primary color scheme! When in doubt, buy some Alexander Calder prints here. The colors will inspired you and help to explain when a pop of yellow, or a dash of red are needed. For furniture, shop at CB2. Their whole collection has a hint of modernism that favors pops of color and bright, cheery rooms. Bold, typographic prints based in BLACK fonts also go along with the Mod look. When in doubt, anything with a Vespa or Scooter (an icon of the Mods) helps, like a time machine, to land  your room in 1960.

Image found via This Isn’t Happiness. 

Scans from CB2 2012 catalog.

As the mods would say, this is all so “choice”, “groovy”, “mint”, and “neat”.