09 January 2017


by Andy Weddington
Monday, 09 January 2017

Don't be a Pollyanna! Richard Diebenkorn

In bookcases and atop tables and desks throughout our home rest books. All sorts of books. Art books. Military books. Philosophy books. Psychology books. Nonfiction. Few fiction. None on Hollywood. None on actors. 

Among scores of art books are more than a few each on painters Henri Matisse (1869-1954), a Frenchman, and Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993), an American. 

That the elder's work influenced the younger long known to me. The paintings give that fact away. And yesterday morning I watched a CBS Sunday Morning piece that focused on the two men, their "relationship" though they never met, and their painting. 

Though fame was not their ultimate objective, each man realized some degree of such while alive. You might say a lifetime of commitment to their craft, and achievement, was rewarded by public recognition. 

I have seen some original Matisse paintings. They are a sight to behold - in design and color. Stunning!

A few years ago I spent hours in a Diebenkorn exhibit - hundreds of works. Speechless! And went back a week later. Leaving as speechless as the week before. 

Since yesterday morning I've spent considerable time looking through my Matisse and Diebenkorn books - again and still marveling at their skill and scope of work. Remarkable!

From what I've read of these two giants of painting, they were humble men - letting their work, their art, speak.

This morning while perusing news I learned Hollywood, a forum of art, last evening held their Golden Globe Awards, and the buzz was about some who opted to make political statements.

One, an actress recognized for lifetime achievement, getting the most attention.

The particulars of what she had to say I've not read nor seen. Nor care to. She's irrelevant. Her best act would have been to graciously accept, exit the stage, and take her award home. 

For whatever reason, another Golden Globe Award winner came to mind. 

Mr. Lee Marvin (1924-1987).

He won one for best actor more than 50 years ago in the film Cat Ballou.

Twenty-one years before winning that Golden Globe young Marvin "won" another award.

He was presented the Purple Heart for being wounded during the Battle of Saipan. 

Much about Mr. Marvin I do not know.

What I do know is there's something to be said for a notable actor, who considered, despite all of his accomplishments and awards, being a U. S. Marine his most important lifetime achievement. 

He, at rest in Arlington National Cemetery, had that achievement etched on his headstone: Lee Marvin, PFC, U. S. Marine Corps, World War II. 

That's golden!

Some in Hollywood could learn much from Private First Class Lee Marvin. And from all the men and women - including actors - who have worn our country's uniform. Some gave blood. Others their life. And others will.

Is there lifetime achievement greater than uniformed service to country?

But it's not for Pollyannas! 

Richard Diebenkorn, Lieutenant, U. S. Marine Corps.

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