Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley #47, 1955, oil on canvas, 149.86cm x 167.64cm, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Emilie Jean, lecturer for the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, shares with memento a few words about certain works of art selected from the exhibition Icônes Américaines, Chefs-d’œuvre du SFMOMA et de la Collection Fisher au Grand Palais (American Icons, masterworks from SFMOMA and the Fisher collection at the Grand Palais), which diptyque is proud to be supporting.
Who would recognize the city of Berkeley in this painting by Richard Diebenkorn, which dates back to 1955? No-one except the painter himself for whom the pictorial representations are of his own experiences of a place apart from anything else. Colors, lines become the elements of his own cartography of the United States. He paints in the quiet of his studio. There the painter dares to redo his work, to start it again, to change it by trial and error just like a memory. Diebenkorn’s landscapes are emotional, geographical? Secondary! Bordering on abstraction, this work is part of a series of forty paintings all pivoting on Jackson Pollock’s style of throwing paint using the brush handle which Diebenkorn does also scratching and scraping. His landscapes are above all, the colors of a memory – a memory of a view from an aircraft.