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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
June 5, 2017
photo by Katherine Du Tiel; courtesy SFMOMA

Matisse/Diebenkorn at SFMOMA

The Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit has ended. Please visit SFMOMA for current exhibitions

On view at SFMOMA from March 11 through May 29, 2017 is the first exhibition to explore the profound inspiration California artist Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) discovered in the work of French modernist Henri Matisse (1869-1954). Featuring approximately 100 objects from museums and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe, including 40 paintings and drawings from Matisse and 60 by Diebenkorn, this exhibition is a West Coast-exclusive for SFMOMA.

About the Exhibition

Matisse/Diebenkorn follows the trajectory of Diebenkorn's career, illuminating how Matisse's influence evolved over time through different pairings and groupings of both artists' work. Diebenkorn began to incorporate elements of the French painter's approach into his own composition, reflected in the brighter palette and new interest in structure evident in Urbana No. 5 (Beachtown) (1953) and Urbana No. 6 (1953). The opening galleries of the exhibition feature outstanding works from this period, demonstrating the significant impact of Diebenkorn's early encounters with Matisse.

Works from Diebenkorn's representational period - still lifes, interiors, city scenes and figural works - will be presented with some of Matisse's own compositions that were of particular relevance. Pairings include Matisse's Interior with Violin (1918) with Diebenkorn's Interior with Doorway (1962), and Matisse's Woman with a Hat (1905) with Diebenkorn's Seated Figure with Hat (1967). Diebenkorn canvases from the end of this period, including Recollections of a Visit to Leningrad (1965) and Large Still Life (1966), will showcase the use of ornate wallpaper and textiles favored by Matisse.

Later in his career, Diebenkorn acknowledged the influence of Matisse's work, and his Ocean Park #6  (1968) and Ocean Park #79 (1975) highlight this influence in the color, geometric structure and evidence of process. The exhibition closes with selections from this Ocean Park period, juxtaposed with some of Matisse's most influential work, including The Girl with Green Eyes (1908).

General Information

The Matisse/Diebenkorn special exhibition will be on view March 11 through May 29, and is available with a special purchase in addition to general admission. Tickets are on sale, online and on-site.

Private guided tours and group discounts are available. Tours are one hour in length and must be booked at least two weeks in advance. For more information, please visit

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