LAMA BLOG

Richard Diebenkorn “Clubs and Spades”

September 27, 2016

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is pleased to announce the auction of three prints by celebrated painter Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) on October 9, 2016. Born in Portland, Oregon, he grew up in San Francisco and attended Stanford University, where he was exposed to the work of Hopper, Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso, whose paintings had a formative impact on his practice. Diebenkorn was a highly original artist, known for eschewing convention. He established his reputation as an abstract painter in the late 1940s, during which time he created expressive, gestural works but returned to figuration in the 1950s, defying critics who denounced this move as regressive. His innovative depictions of landscape proved influential and became associated with artists like Elmer Bischoff and Paul Wonner, later referred to as the Bay Area Figurative School. Spending most of his life in California, Diebenkorn was the quintessential West Coast artist.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 230, Richard Diebenkorn, Tri-Color II, 1981
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

When Diebenkorn moved to Santa Monica in 1966, he revisited the geometric forms of his earlier abstract work while continuing to reference the unique light and open landscapes of Southern California. In 1980, Diebenkorn began to draw on the spade as a recurrent motif in his work. Featured throughout his iconic Clubs and Spades series, the image derives from the artist’s childhood fascination with heraldic symbols which he painted on homemade shields. These three aquatints, created in 1981, show the painstaking accumulation of marks built up by the artist to create an atmospheric haze of traces and lines. The numerous layers attest to the constant adjustments made by Diebenkorn throughout the process of etching, suggesting the surprising contradictions underlying these elegant prints. The artist embraced print-making in his later years, describing how the adoption of “a different medium altogether can really be liberating.” This is an opportunity to acquire a series of Diebenkorn works which marry the lyrical abstraction of the artist’s early practice with his later, mature delineation of form.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 231, Richard Diebenkorn, Blue Club, 1981
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Diebenkorn’s work is held in many important public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 232, Richard Diebenkorn, White Club, 1981
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

“Richard Diebenkorn, Lyrical Painter, Dies at 71.” New York Times. M. Kimmelman, March, 31, 1993. Web. September, 8, 2016.
Oral history interview with Richard Diebenkorn, May 1, 1985–Dec. 15, 1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Web. Sept 8, 2016.

Lot Information:

Lot 230
Richard Diebenkorn
Tri-Color II
1981
Color aquatint with soft ground etching on paper
#15 of 35
Published and printed by Crown Point Press, San Francisco
Initialed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet beneath image; edition lower left; Crown Point Press blind stamp lower right sheet
Image: 18.75″ x 17.75″; Sheet: 37.5″ x 30.75″; Frame: 40″ x 33.325″
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 231
Richard Diebenkorn
Blue Club
1981
Color aquatint with soft ground etching on paper
#5 of 35
Published and printed by Crown Point Press, San Francisco
Initialed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet beneath image; edition lower left; Crown Point Press blind stamp lower right sheet
Image: 18.75″ x 17.75″; Sheet: 37.5″ x 30.5″; Frame: 40″ x 33.25″
Estimate: $7,000 – $10,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 232
Richard Diebenkorn
White Club
1981
Aquatint reversal on paper
#22 of 22
Published and printed by Crown Point Press, San Francisco
Initialed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet beneath image; edition lower left; Crown Point Press blind stamp lower right corner of sheet
Image: 18.75″ x 17.75″; Sheet: 37.5″ x 30.5″; Frame: 40″ x 33.25″
Estimate: $6,000 – $9,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

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