Phyllis Diebenkorn, the wife and muse of the famous painter Richard Diebenkorn, died Jan. 19 at her apartment in San Francisco. She was 93.
Throughout her husband’s career, Mrs. Diebenkorn was active in every aspect of his art, from cataloging works and helping mount exhibitions to keeping track of every painting and drawing across a career that spanned more than 50 years. A tall brunette, she had a model’s elegance — and that was another role she filled.
“They had a wonderful partnership, and she was his favorite and most frequent model and appears in many of his paintings and drawings,” said her daughter, Gretchen Grant of Oakland. “Even when she wasn’t the model, the drawing often looked like her.”
Phyllis Antoinette Gilman was born Sept. 2, 1921, in Glendale (Los Angeles County) and raised in the Los Angeles area. In the fall of 1939, she entered Stanford University, and a year later met Richard Diebenkorn, who had arrived as a freshman from San Francisco.