Not Just a Number
Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley No. 52, 1955. Image © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.
Berkeley No. 52—one of over 50 abstractions Richard Diebenkorn painted upon his return to Northern California in the 1950s—shares the gestural brushstrokes and sun-drenched palette of plein air paintings from this era. However, No. 52 has a distinction all its own: In 2008, upon President Obama’s move into the White House, The National Gallery of Art lent the Obama family a selection of paintings to enjoy for the duration of their stay, including work by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha and—you guessed it—Diebenkorn’s Berkeley No. 52.