This work will be included in the forthcoming Richard Diebenkorn Catalogue Raisonné under number 1384.
"Ingleside is a residential area west of Twin Peaks in San Francisco where I lived as a boy. Visiting there thirty years later presented me with a peculiarly concentrated subject matter, one which represented much that I had rejected in intervening years but which at the same time referred largely to what I am. A sense of place was built into my use of this material. I made on-the-spot sketches that were very brief that when I painted from them in my Berkeley studio the relevant detail filled in easily. The pictures that came out of this don't refer to specific streets and houses but I believe are very much about the place, Ingleside" (R. Diebenkorn, quoted in A. Gussow, A Sense of Place: The Artist and the American Land, New York, 1972, p. 143).
In the evanescent Ingleside II, Richard Diebenkorn renders the familiar Macadam streets, sun-drenched lawn and white stucco houses of his childhood. While the artist painted the streets of San Francisco many times in his iconic geometric cityscapes, he painted just two of the idyllic Ingleside neighborhood; the first was acquired by the Grand Rapids Art Museum over forty years ago, while the present version was given to Laughlin Phillips by his mother, Marjorie. The Phillips family, whose namesake collection became the country's first modern art museum, played a crucial role in Diebenkorn's development as a painter. It was at their museum that Diebenkorn became familiar with iconic works of modern art. Laughlin, a longtime director of the museum, fondly remembers, "Artists have always loved this place. Richard Diebenkorn, who was stationed in Quantico in the 1940s, was a regular visitor, studying the Matisses and the Vuillards by the hour" (L. Phillips, quoted in B. Matusow, "Inside the Phillips Collection," The Washingtonian, p. 69). On panoramic format, Ingleside II becomes a masterpiece of light and color, distilling the broad swathes of land, road and sky, as well as the prismatic, pearly hues that appear in the seemingly interminable California sun.
The artist's broad, confident brushstrokes and vivid coloration capture the essence of place. In Ingleside II, manicured lawns, paved asphalt and creamy stucco buildings coalesce into geometric planes of vivid color. Despite his rich blocks of color, Diebenkorn uses layers of paint to achieve the ineffable warm, flickering hues, so that grass appears with sunlit spots of ochre and yellow and distant stucco houses appear in hazy powdery hues along the horizon. Diebenkorn's expressive use of color also aligns with the tone and texture of Edward Hopper's pictures, with their blanched color, long shadows and deserted city streets. Diebenkorn said of his longtime influence, "I embraced Hopper completely, it was his use of light and shade and the atmosphere...kind of drenched, saturated with mood, and its kind of austerity...it was the kind of work that just seemed made for me. I looked at it and it was mine" (R. Diebenkorn, quoted in J. Livingston, The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1997, p. 21).
Just as Hopper found inspiration in the influx of people who moved to the 1930s modern city, Diebenkorn illustrates a reverse transformation, when the Bay Area experienced an unprecedented urban exodus. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the metropolitan area of San Francisco became much smaller than its growing suburban municipalities with the postwar boom in low-cost housing and new freeway constructions. In Ingleside II the anonymous curvilinear intersection traverses laterally across the canvas before delving into deep illusionistic space. Its visual primacy reflects the freeway's new essential role that led to expansive, radical proposals that inspired the San Francisco Freeway Revolts beginning in the early 1960s. Yet Diebenkorn's blurred, abstracted forms hardly denote a specific time or historical moment; in fact, the intersection sweeps over ephemeral, fleeting events so what remains are the manmade and natural elements of landscape. His formalist inclinations draw parallel to Paul Cézanne's aerated landscapes and Henri Matisse's interweaving of flat color and recessive space. In fact, according to Diebenkorn scholar Gerald Norland, Matisse's The Studio, Quai Saint-Michel in the Phillips Collection was the single most influential piece of art for Diebenkorn during the wartime years.
Ingleside II has remained in the family's personal collection since 1974, prominently hanging for many years in Laughlin Phillip's living room, above his mantelpiece. The Phillips Collection has also acquired over a dozen of Diebenkorn his works, displaying them on the same walls as the pictures he studied years before. The family's special sensitivity to the California painter's art may be explained by the principles with which Duncan Phillips founded his museum, illustrating the same poetic and romantic notions of artistic vision that Diebenkorn wholeheartedly believed: Phillips said, "I saw a chance to create a beneficent force in the community where I live--a joy-giving, life-enhancing influence, assisting people to see beautifully as true artists see" (D. Phillips, quoted in B. Matusow, "Inside the Phillips Collection," The Washingtonian, p. 69).