Our latest Artist You Need To Know just marked his 100th birthday, and his influence is seen in a number of artists over his long career (including a past artist we featured here, Fritz Scholder). Wayne Thiebaud’s work might seem superficially ‘banal’ but there’s a distinctive Edward Hopper atmosphere to his objects, scenes and people. Thiebaud’s “paintings of pies, cakes, and other treats delight and intrigue. His landscapes, often of the agrarian countryside surrounding his home of Sacramento, show a new and different side of the land, offering a textured understanding of the way a view unfolds through an altered perspective.”(Chandra Noyes, writing at Art & Object) There’s a singularity of vision to Thiebaud’s portraits, whether of people or of food, that both isolates and focuses upon his subject. This immediacy is also seen in his landscapes which are often of his immediate world as well.
Thiebaud was initially a commercial artist, but began to explore a more fine art sphere and obtained an MFA from what is currently Sacramento State. In the 1950s, he was strongly influenced by a visit to New York City, and especially the paintings of Franz Kline, Elaine de Kooning and Willem de Kooning. An artist who is strongly identified with the San Francisco Bay Area, Thiebaud’s works can be found in the collections of the LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery; Albright-Knox; Phoenix Art Museum; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and many other institutions.
The Crocker Art Museum (which also has his work in their collection) has mounted a Thiebaud exhibition every decade since 1951, and 2020 will coincide with Thiebaud marking his centenary, as an influential artist and teacher. We’ve included many images of his work in this post, as he is still quite prolific.