Diebenkorn Exhibit Makes Final Stop at MMAC Sept. 24-Dec. 12

September 14, 2015

MISSOULA – Internationally revered artist Richard Diebenkorn will be featured in an exhibition from Sept. 24 to Dec. 12 at the Montana Museum of Art & Culture in the Paxson and Meloy galleries located in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center at the Richard Diebenkorn. Photograph by Leo Holub, Santa Monica, Calif., 1984. Credit: Courtesy Estate of Leo Holub.University of Montana. This show is open to the public.

The twelve-week exhibit is the first-ever to be produced by the Diebenkorn Foundation and includes pencil and ink drawings on paper along with collages of torn paper and watercolors. An opening reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, in the PAR/TV Center lobby. The event will feature live music, light refreshments and remarks from Andrea Liguori, managing director of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.

Many of Diebenkorn’s pieces featured in the exhibit are lesser known while others are “knockouts,” said Liguori, who is also the associate editor of the Richard Diebenkorn Catalogue Raisonné.

“We are honored to present these works in association with the Diebenkorn Foundation,” said MMAC Director Barbara Koostra. “Diebenkorn’s full career path is mapped out through these works on paper; all demonstrate the artist’s development, technique and process.”

The exhibition features 52 pieces, an expanded selection after 12 additional works were added on the second half of the touring schedule.  

“The showing in Montana is the first time these added 12 works have been seen outside of California and only the second time they have been exhibited at all,” Liguori said. “I think it’s a show people will want to visit more than once. There is so much to see and learn from in these drawings.”

The show is curated by Chester Arnold, chair of the Fine Arts Department at College of Marin in California.

“These works have a special import to anyone studying art,” Arnold said. “They are small sketches, remarkable and beautiful. They reveal so much about his personality and the works that were being born in his studio. Each period of his work – Ocean Park, Berkeley, Healdsburg – all had highlights along the way and you can see them happening. It is an exhilarating study depicting the development of an artist.”

The Montana Museum of Art & Culture is the final stop on this exhibition’s tour and the last chance to see the show in its present form.

“Diebenkorn was profoundly impacted by the geography that surrounded him wherever he lived,” Liguori said. “His palette opened up into warm oranges, browns and yellows when he lived in Albuquerque. His Ocean Park works capture the distinctive light and color of the Southern California skies and water.

“I have to think he would have gone to yet another incredible place in his work had he spent some time living in Montana.”

Several programs are planned during the exhibition:

Thursday, Oct. 1, MMAC will partner with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra to present “Music in the Artist’s Studio: A Cello Concert with Greg Sauer,” which explores the kinds of music Diebenkorn listened to in his studio while painting. The concert takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Masquer Theatre and will be followed by a brief docent-led tour of the exhibition. The event is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, the museum will host a “Celebrity Artist Tour with Lela Autio,” the renowned Montana modernist. The event runs from 5:30 to 6 p.m. The tour is free and open to the public.

In addition, special docent tours will be given free to the public on the following dates:

  • Friday, Oct. 2: 6-7 p.m.Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled, c. 1964. Ink on paper. 12 ½ x 17 inches (31.8 x 43.2 cm). The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. Photograph copyright The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.


  • Thursday, Nov. 5: 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 5: 1-2 p.m.

MMAC’s academic year gallery hours are from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The museum is open to the public with a suggested $5 donation. For more information call 406-243-2019 or visit http://www.umt.edu/montanamuseum.

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Contact: Barbara Koostra, director, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019, barbara.koostra@mso.umt.edu.