Matisse-Diebenkorn Exhibit at SFMOMA

Matisse-Diebenkorn Exhibit at SFMOMA Masters not to be missed
Presenting a new view of two of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary painters, Matisse-Diebenkorn is the first major exhibition to explore the profound inspiration Richard Diebenkorn found in the work of Henri Matisse. It brings together 100 extraordinary paintings and drawings—40 by Matisse and 60 by Diebenkorn—that reveal the connections between the two artists in subject, style, color, and technique.

The exhibition unfolds across the arc of Diebenkorn’s career—from early abstractions, through his Bay Area figurative years, to his majestic Ocean Park series—all in direct dialogue with works that he knew and admired by Matisse. Diebenkorn grew up in San Francisco, and first discovered Matisse as a Stanford University art student in the early 1940s. Over the next four decades, he pursued a serious study of the great French modernist’s work, drawing from his example to forge a style entirely his own.

I first wrote, “incomparable masters.” The show, however, is all about comparison, with works presented in the same galleries, and even side by side. Some of the parallels are startling, as we see Diebenkorn making deliberate reference to Matisse’s love of pattern and enjoyment of formal disjuncture, his choices of subject matter and point of view, his technique of applying paint thickly in one place and rubbed thin in others.


Diebenkorn made no secret of his debt to the French painter. He often discussed it in interviews. He announced it specifically, artistically in a large work, “Recollections of a Visit to Leningrad,” which he painted in 1965 after seeing Matisse’s great “Red Room (Harmony in Red)” at the State Hermitage Museum.

—Charles Desmarais, SF Chronicle, March 10, 2017

Read the SF Chronicle review here.
Get ticketing information for Matisse-Deibenkorn here.

SF Museum of Modern Art
March 11–May 29, 2017
151 Third Street, San Francisco
(Easily accessible by BART.)

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