LAMA BLOG

Just In: Richard Diebenkorn ‘Blue with Red’

October 20, 2016

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is delighted to present a print by one of California’s most celebrated painters, Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993). This work will be available in our March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Richard Diebenkorn, Blue with Red, 1987
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Featuring a strong sweep of blue and delicate detailing, Blue with Red combines Diebenkorn’s signature lyrical abstraction with a bold, graphic sensibility. The print was published by Crown Point Press, a printing house based in San Francisco, renowned internationally for its high quality work with important artists. This print was published as part of a major program which the press embarked upon between 1984 and 1991, where they collaborated with the Shiundo Print Shop based in Kyoto, Japan. Participating artists included Helen Frankenthaler, Chuck Close, Sylvia Mangold and Richard Diebenkorn.

Shiundo’s printer, Tadashi Toda, worked on Blue with Red, creating a woodcut from a watercolor made by Diebenkorn. The founder of the press, Kathan Brown, said that for this project, “Diebenkorn […] likened himself to an orchestra conductor. He was at the Shiundo Print Shop to guide and adjust, choose, and change, using the skills of the woodcarver Reizo Monjyu and the printer Tadashi Toda to adapt their centuries-old technique to his ends.” This exposure to Japanese methods and materials of print-making opened up an entirely new dimension of the Diebenkorn’s prolific print practice.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Diebenkorn grew up in San Francisco and attended Stanford University. 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. His innovative depictions of landscape from this time proved influential and became associated with the Bay Area Figurative School. From then on, the artist continued to transgress the boundaries between figuration and abstraction in his work, while referencing the unique light and open landscapes of Southern California. Diebenkorn embraced print-making in his later years, describing how the adoption of “a different medium altogether can really be liberating”. Spending his later years in Santa Monica, Diebenkorn was the quintessential West Coast artist.

This is a unique opportunity to acquire a highly-sought after work from Diebenkorn’s collaboration with the illustrious Crown Point Press. Other editions of the print are held in several prominent collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art; De Young / Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the McNay Art Museum and the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Lot information:
Richard Diebenkorn
Blue with Red
1987
Published by Crown Point Press, San Francisco; printed by Tadashi Toda, Shiundo Print Shop, Kyoto
Color woodcut on Echizen Kozo Moshi paper
#73 of 200
Initialed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet; edition lower center; printer’s initials lower left; publisher blind stamp lower right edge of sheet in margin
Image: 33.5″ x 23″; Sheet: 37.5″ x 25.5”; Frame: 45” x 33″
Estimate: $25,000 – 35,000
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Breuer, K., Fine, R., Nash, S.A. Thirty-five Years at Crown Point Press: Making Prints, Doing Art. 1997. 175
Vollmer. A. Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Art of Mokuhanga. 2015.
Oral history interview with Richard Diebenkorn, May 1, 1985–Dec. 15, 1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Web. Oct. 19, 2016.

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