Shuman Block


2571 Shattuck Avenue map it



McDougall Bros., Architects, 1906

Horse-drawn wagons once carried goods to The Berkeley Free Market housed here. In 1952 the structure was modernized to accommodate automobile showrooms, with artists’ studios above. Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, William Theophilus Brown, and Paul Wonner are among the prominent Bay Area painters who rented studios here. Together with David Park, who had a studio in downtown Berkeley, Bischoff and Diebenkorn founded the Bay Area Figurative style. While here, in 1955–1956, Diebenkorn combined abstraction with nature in his “Berkeley Series” landscapes.

A 1999 rehabilitation by owner John Gordon and The Bay Architects restored much of the building’s original appearance. Artists continue to use the upstairs studios.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Richard Diebenkorn with printers Hidekatsu Takada and Marcia Bartholme in the Crown Point studio, 1986, photo Kathan Brown

  • Richard Diebenkorn “Untitled” (“Albuquerque Series,” 1951), courtesy Hackett Mill, S.F.

  • Richard Diebenkorn “Berkeley # 8”, North Carolina Museum of Art Poster.

  • Diebenkorn family apartment (upstairs, rear) 2837 Webster St. (2011), photo R. Kehlmann.

More information:
Diebenkorn Biographical sketch

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society