I quite like Diebenkorn's work myself. He... and the whole of the so-called California/San Francisco School of Figurative Art are far more rooted in the colorist tradition of French Modernism... Matisse, Bonnard, Degas, Monet, Vuillard than in Picasso, Cubsim, Surrealism, Dada and Formalist Abstraction... which had a far greater impact upon the paintings of the New York School.
One needs only look at these paintings by Matisse:
... to see where Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series is coming from. It may also owe much to the light and landscape of California... so different from the urban environment of New York... that led the California painters to look to a different group of artists for inspiration.
Other interesting painters from the California School include:
Bischoff merged elements of the rich painterly brushwork of Van Gogh, Soutine... and DeKooning with the color and everyday subject matter of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism... and a nod to Edward Hopper's views of the American landscapes and cityscapes:
Bischoff's paintings... like most of the works of the California School... were incredibly juicy in their paint handling:
Park was another leading figure of the California School. His paintings employed an even broader use of the brush than Bischoff... and a subject matter suggestive of Social Realists such as Walt Kuhn, Isabel Bishop, and Raphael Soyer:
Wonner was still another leading figure in the California School:
Another senior figure in the Bay Area Figurative School, Petersen focused as much upon pattern as on color making him stand out among other painters of the group:
The California School was somewhat unique in that a number of the leading painters were women. Joan Brown was part of what is considered the second generation of the California School of Painting. She studied under Elmer Bischoff and was married to the sculptor, Manuel Neri. Many of her early paintings allude to art historical/Biblical themes merged with references to her personal life/inclusion of friends/lovers/and her dog.
You gotta appreciate the clown who tries to copyright his photographs of someone else' paintings. The Supreme Court, by the way, ruled that photographs of original art works are themselves not "original" works of art and cannot be afforded copyright protection.
Another marvelous female painter of the school is Linda Petersen:
The impact of the San Francisco/Bay Area/California School of Figurative Painting... which was at its peak during the 1950s and early 1960s... continues into the work of any number of contemporary artists.
Kevin Bean's figurative paintings are based upon non-descript family snapshots. These are filtered through the haze of memory... losing all details but gaining the "perfume" of atmosphere and mood wrought by his expressive use of color:
Another marvelous female painter working in the tradition of the California School is Kyle (pronounced Ki [with a long I] Lee) Staver, a New York artist who merges elements of the French Intimist (Matisse, Bonnard, Vuillard) tradition... which was itself a major inspiration for the California School... with the painterliness and funky drawing of the Bay Area artists:
Another interesting artist who has built upon the tradition of the California School is Stephanie Kim Frohsin, whose paintings owe as much to the graphic elements of Pop Art and 1960s psychedelic posters (another California art form) as to the Bay Area School.
My own work is far more traditionally rendered than the work of the California School... but I have long appreciated their paintings... and especially their mastery of an expressive use of color.