Diebenkorn etchings at Crown Point Press

Courtesy PhotoMaster printer: “Green” is among the works on view in “Richard Diebenkorn: Prints and Proofs” at Crown Point Press.

“Richard Diebenkorn: Prints and Proofs,” part of Crown Point Press’ 50th anniversary festivities, is a unique exhibit that focuses not only on the beauty and creativity of art, but also on the process of making it.    

Diebenkorn’s completed 1986 etchings “Red-Yellow-Blue” and the celebrated “Green” are on view, as well as working proofs — both color and black-and-white — for each piece.   

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A seven-minute video of Diebenkorn creating “Red-Yellow-Blue” adds more depth and detail to the show’s exploration of his use of color, form and technique.

Diebenkorn was no stranger to making prints when he came to Crown Point Press in 1962. It was the same year that printmaker  Kathan Brown (who had long wanted a venue that would specialize in etchings) founded the press. 

Over the years, she assembled a group of skillful printers that specialized in working with world-renowned painters, some with little or no experience making etchings.  

Diebenkorn, the noted abstract expressionist and figurative painter with Bay Area roots, was one such artist. But with Brown’s encouragement, his zeal for etchings grew, and he continually was surprised by the completed works.

They often weren’t what he envisioned when he began.  Unexpected colors and forms — sometimes slight and hardly noticeable, and other times significant — would emerge during the process of creating them.

He also found that the particular paper used in printing could produce unforeseen changes.

He enjoyed working with printers, whose input stimulated him, leading him to new ideas that found their way into subsequent versions of a piece.

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