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 Ernest A. Dieringer  (1932 - )

About: Ernest A. Dieringer


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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois      Known for: large-scale abstract imagery painting

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Ad Code: 4
Descending S, 1971,
"Descending S, 1971", Oil on linen,
75 x 47" signed

Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from David Hall Fine Art, LLC:
Ernest Dieringer is a Chicago born and educated painter whose raw large scale canvasses of floating forms of color were first exhibited at the Wells Street Gallery in Chicago.  Within a few years, Dieringer like many of his Wells Street artist friends had moved to New York.

In 1962 he had his first one man show at the Poindexter Gallery exhibiting alongside, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Franz Kline and Emerson Woelffer. Dieringer’s work caught the attention of noted art historian, Clement Greenberg, and in 1964 he was included in the now famous Greenberg exhibition, “Post Painterly Abstraction.”  Greenberg saw a new era of painting emerging that was reacting to the prior two decades of Abstract Expressionism.  Among the thirty one artists included in this exhibit were Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella.

Dieringer’s work falls into several distinct periods. After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago in the mid 1950’s he focused on creating large scale expressive colorful canvasses of random floating forms. The intensity of these forms ranged from very deliberate and direct statements to more painterly orchestrations of colors often achieving a fleeting Cezanne like atmosphere.

In the early 1960’s, Dieringer started to reign in his compositions, using large paint soaked sponges which allowed him to draw long, thick translucent forms in turn creating common symbols such as an asterisk or a zig-zag.  By the mid 1960’s the compositions become more formal.  Wide linear bands of color often applied in semi transparent layers at first appear very controlled but the artist cleverly introduces arbitrary relationships within the forms.  The artistic logic of these random statements prevents these formal compositions from becoming predictable and repetitive.

Dieringer then moved into hard-edged geometric images of color so intense and powerful the works seem difficult to contain as you view them.  In the early 1970’s, having pushed the boundaries of color and form, Dieringer pulled back from the high keyed palette of his earlier compositions and sought out the clarity and nuance of form revealed when using pure white paint applied via an airbrush on raw linen. These overlapping geometric forms were described in a New York Times review by the art historian and critic, Hilton Kramer, as being “a sort of constructivist sculpture rendered in pictorial form.”  Dieringer would continue to explore the possibilities of this medium creating both monochromatic and multi color compositions.

The one consistent element present in all periods of Dieringer’s work is that of the experimental process.  He would use non-traditional means to achieve his painterly goals.  This required in-studio experimentation until he found or created the method capable of producing the image and its effect.  Giant sponges, spray paint, airbrush and constant experimentation is what we are left with in these magnificent works.

Ernest Dieringer, American, b. 1932

Studied; Art Institute of Chicago, National Scholastic Scholarship; 1950 - 54

US Army; 1955 - 1957

Teacher; Painting & Drawing, Hyde Part Art Center, Chicago, 1958, 1959

Teacher; Chicago and NY Public High Schools, 1958 - 60


Wells Street Gallery, Chicago, 1959

Poindexter Gallery, NY, 1962, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72

Greenwich Art Center, Greenwich, Ct. 1973

William Sawyer Gallery San Francisco, CA. 1973


Chicago Art Institute, 1955

Exhibition Momentum, Chicago; 1955 - 1957

Wells Street Gallery, Chicago, 1958

Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, 1959

Montana Historical Society, Permanent Collection, 1961

Fairweather - Hardin Gallery, Chicago, 1963

Dealers Choice, Contemporary Arts Association, Houston, 1963, 1964

Dayton Art Institute, 1964

Post Painterly Abstraction; National Traveling Exhibition, curated by Clement Greenberg

Park Bernet Summer Show, NY, 1964

Riverside Museum, NY Artists, 1964

American Artist Show, Art Institute of Chicago, 1964

Daniels Gallery, NY, 1965

American Painting, Univ. Of IL, Champaign Urbana, 1965

New England Annual, 1971, Abstract Painting Award

Chicago Expatriates, Illinois Bell Gallery, Chicago, 1972

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