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Bottles, 1960

Richard Diebenkorn

American, 1922-1993
Oil on canvas
34 x 26 in. (86.4 x 66 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
P.1961.27
© 2008 Estate of Richard Diebenkorn

Not on view

By the middle of the 1950s, Richard Diebenkorn had become increasingly dissatisfied with the purely gestural practice of the Abstract Expressionism. Thus, it was in late 1955 when Diebenkorn abruptly changed course to create his first landscapes, still lifes and figurative work. These subjects occupied the California artist over the next several decades, and the use of similar settings, objects and models encouraged him to develop a structural and chromatic simplicity not unlike the best works of Henri Matisse and even Paul Cézanne. The beginnings of this approach can be seen in Bottles, where the simplified circular forms of intersecting glass bottle, ink jar and cigarettes anchor a table made of purple, lavender, turquoise and maize planes. Despite the boldly employed brushwork, the resultant still life is a contemplative study of geometry and color.

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