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Richard Diebenkorn and Sam Francis

Richard Diebenkorn in his Ocean Park studio, Santa Monica, CA, 1984. Photograph by Leo Holub. Courtesy of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.

Richard Diebenkorn in his Ocean Park studio, Santa Monica, CA, 1984. Photograph by Leo Holub. Courtesy of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.

In 1967, Richard Diebenkorn set up shop in a studio in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, California, where he began a series of works he would continue for the next 20 years. The “Ocean Park” paintings are characterized by the bright light of Southern California and mark a departure from Diebenkorn’s figurative work—a move he credited to the open, light-soaked studio, previously inhabited by Abstract Expressionist Sam Francis. “As soon as I moved into Sam's space, I did about four large canvases—still representational, but again, much flatter," Diebenkorn said. "Then, suddenly, I abandoned the figure altogether.”