Skip to Content
Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn
American, 1922 - 1993
A (left) acrylic and gouache on paper / B (center) wash and pasted paper on paper / C (right) acrylic, charcoal, and pasted paper on paper

(A) 24 15/16 x 17 15/16 inches
(B) 24 7/8 x 17 7/8 inches
(C) 24 7/8 x 17 7/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund and gift of an anonymous donor

Arts of North America

In 1966, after accepting a teaching position at UCLA, Richard Diebenkorn began working in a studio near the beach in Santa Monica's Ocean Park neighborhood. The artist soon embarked on a new cycle of paintings and drawings, collectively known as the Ocean Park works.

The light and architecture of the beach community had a profound influence on Diebenkorn's style and imagery. He abandoned his figurative vocabulary and invented an abstract language, partially reverting to his early interest in landscape-based abstraction, but rendered from an aerial perspective. Diebenkorn extrapolated the internal architecture of his Ocean Park works from the stark compositions of two paintings by Henri Matisse: View of Notre Dame and French Window at Collioure.

In this three-part work from 1972, Diebenkorn pares his Ocean Park imagery down to its most essential components. Executed in monochrome, except for the third (green) panel, Untitled is the artistís homage to the austerity of Matisse's window paintings. Realizing the centrality of this triptych to his oeuvre, Diebenkorn kept it in the living room of his Santa Monica home, a touchstone of his quarter-century-long Ocean Park series.