Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wayne Thiebaud: Selected Works (1963 - 1988)

+ JMJ +

Wayne Thiebaud, drawing cartoons featuring the character "Aleck" at Mather Army Air Field, 1944.   [Source

Things About Thiebaud

Thiebaud, Wayne - Display Cakes - Bay Area Figurative Movement - Oil on canvas - Other/Unknown theme - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - San Francisco, CA, USA

Display Cakes, 1963
Oil on canvas
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Wayne Thiebaud was born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona. He moved with his family to Long Beach, California, at age nine.

Thiebaud, Wayne - Balls - Bay Area Figurative Movement - Oil on canvas - Other/Unknown theme - Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - Washington, DC, USA

Balls, 1963
Oil on Canvas
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Washington, DC, USA

Thiebaud grew up during the Great Depression. He was a boy scout and worked in restaurants.


Lemon Meringue, 1964
From the series, Delights, 1965 
Etching and Drypoint on Paper

In high school, he played basketball.


Half Cakes, 1964
Woodcut on Paper

He took art classes and started drawing cartoons.


Stick Candy, 1964
Etching on Paper

 He also worked on stage sets for theater productions.


Color Lipstick, 1964/1988 
Hard-ground and Drypoint Etching

Perhaps this experience with stage lighting gave him the idea to put bright light in his paintings.

Cherry Stand, from "Delights," 1964-65

As a teenager Thiebaud held several jobs, making posters for a movie theater and painting signs.

Lemon Cake - Wayne Thiebaud

Lemon Cake, 1964

One summer, Thiebaud worked in the animation department at the Walt Disney Studios. 

Three Strawberry Shakes - Wayne Thiebaud

 Three Strawberry Shakes, 1964

He drew the "in-between frames" (drawings positioned between key changes in movement in order to make animation play smooth) for such cartoons as Goofy and Pinocchio.

Thiebaud, Wayne - Man Sitting - Back View - Bay Area Figurative Movement - Oil on canvas - Portrait - Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art - St. Joseph, MO, USA

Man Sitting - Back View, 1964
Oil on canvas
Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art
St. Joseph, MO, USA

In the 1940s, Thiebaud went to junior college and then served in the Army as an artist and cartoonist.

Eight Lipsticks, 1964

He married and settled in Los Angeles and worked as a commercial artist and illustrator. 

Powder with Puff, 1966
Milwaukee Art Museum 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA 

At age twenty-nine, he went back to college and received degrees in art, art history, and education.

Glassed Candy - Wayne Thiebaud

Glassed Candy, 1969 
Pastel on Paper

He began teaching art to college students and decided to become a serious painter himself.

Glasses, 1970-71
 From Seven Still-Lifes and a Rabbit
Lithograph in Colors 


In 1961, Thiebaud's food paintings—images of cakes, pies, candy, gumball machines, and deli counters painted with thick paint in bright colors—were exhibited in New York.  

Gumball Machine, 1971
From Seven Still Lifes and a Silver Landscape portfolio
Color Linocut

They were a big hit!

Shoe Rows - Wayne Thiebaud

Shoe Rows, 1975
Aquatint / Etching

Though some scholars called Thiebaud a Pop artist because he painted popular consumer goods, he said he painted them out of nostalgia.


Shoe Rows, 1975

They reminded him of his boyhood and the best of America.

Cakes, 1963
Oil on canvas


Thiebaud explained:  "My subject matter was a genuine sort of experience that came out of my life, particularly the American world in which I was privileged to be . . . . I would really think of the bakery counters, of the way the counter was lit, where the pies were placed, but I wanted just a piece of the experience. From when I worked in restaurants . . . [it was] always poetic to me."

Big Suckers, 1971
Private Collection

 Thiebaud painted things other than food.

Candy Cane, 1971
Unique Lithograph in Colors

He made still lifes of neckties, eyeglasses, lipsticks, even cows and dogs.

Candy Stick Rows, 1980
Color Lithograph

He also painted large portraits of human figures, applying thick paint in bright colors against stark white backgrounds.

Big Candy, 1980
Color Lithograph

Thiebaud went on to paint cityscapes—from the steep hills of San Francisco to the colorful landscapes of the Sacramento Valley in California. 

 Dark Cake,1983
Color Woodblock

Wayne Thiebaud retired from full-time teaching in 1990. He lives in Northern California and continues to paint.

City Edge, 1988
Spitbite Aquatint and Soft-ground Etching

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