top of page

Wayne Thiebaud

Biography

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona (1920-2021). His family soon moved to Los Angeles in 1921. In high school, he became interested in stage design and lighting, and worked part-time at a movie theater where he made posters for lobby displays, 1935-1938. During this time he also worked as a summer apprentice program in the animation department of Walt Disney Studios, 1936. From 1942 to 1945, Thiebaud served in the Air Force, assigned to the Special Services Department as an artist and cartoonist, and eventually transferred to the First Air Force Motion Picture Unit, commanded by Ronald Reagan. It is not difficult to detect the influence that this commercial experience had on his later paintings attributed to Pop Art; Thiebaud's characteristic work displays consumer objects such as pies and cakes as they are seen in drug store windows. Thiebaud used heavy pigment and exaggerated colors to depict his subjects, and the well-defined shadows characteristic of advertisements are almost always included. Objects are simplified into basic units but appear varied using seemingly minimal means. From 1949 to 1950, Thiebaud studied at the San Jose State University and from 1950 to 1953 at the California State University in Sacramento. He had his first solo exhibition at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento, and between the years of 1954 and 1957, he produced eleven educational films for which he was awarded the Scholastic Art Prize in 1961. Thiebaud lectured at the Art Department of the Sacramento City College until 1959, when he became a professor at the University of California in Davis.

Born

(November 15, 1920 - December 25, 2021)

Mesa, Arizona


Museum Exhibitions

2001 Retrospective at the Whitney Museum

2012 Retrospective at Acquavella Galleries

2021 Retrospective at the Toledo Museum of Art


Permanent Collections

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Crocker Art Museum

The Whitney Museum of American Art

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Phoenix Art Museum


Awards

1987 Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement

1994 National Medal of Arts by President Clinton

2001 Lifetime Achievement Award for Art from the American Academy of Design

2010 California Hall of Fame in at the California Museum, Sacramento

2013 California Art Award

Press

PRESS

Selected Artworks

Candy Apple (1987) | SOLD

Candy Apple (1987) | SOLD

Woodblock Print

28 x 27 inches

200362

Toy Box (2002) | SOLD

Toy Box (2002) | SOLD

Etching

16 x 18 inches

200361

Born

(November 15, 1920 - December 25, 2021)

Mesa, Arizona


Museum Exhibitions

2001 Retrospective at the Whitney Museum

2012 Retrospective at Acquavella Galleries

2021 Retrospective at the Toledo Museum of Art


Permanent Collections

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Crocker Art Museum

The Whitney Museum of American Art

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Phoenix Art Museum


Awards

1987 Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement

1994 National Medal of Arts by President Clinton

2001 Lifetime Achievement Award for Art from the American Academy of Design

2010 California Hall of Fame in at the California Museum, Sacramento

2013 California Art Award

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona (1920-2021). His family soon moved to Los Angeles in 1921. In high school, he became interested in stage design and lighting, and worked part-time at a movie theater where he made posters for lobby displays, 1935-1938. During this time he also worked as a summer apprentice program in the animation department of Walt Disney Studios, 1936. From 1942 to 1945, Thiebaud served in the Air Force, assigned to the Special Services Department as an artist and cartoonist, and eventually transferred to the First Air Force Motion Picture Unit, commanded by Ronald Reagan. It is not difficult to detect the influence that this commercial experience had on his later paintings attributed to Pop Art; Thiebaud's characteristic work displays consumer objects such as pies and cakes as they are seen in drug store windows. Thiebaud used heavy pigment and exaggerated colors to depict his subjects, and the well-defined shadows characteristic of advertisements are almost always included. Objects are simplified into basic units but appear varied using seemingly minimal means. From 1949 to 1950, Thiebaud studied at the San Jose State University and from 1950 to 1953 at the California State University in Sacramento. He had his first solo exhibition at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento, and between the years of 1954 and 1957, he produced eleven educational films for which he was awarded the Scholastic Art Prize in 1961. Thiebaud lectured at the Art Department of the Sacramento City College until 1959, when he became a professor at the University of California in Davis.

Wayne Thiebaud
Biography

Press

Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud is famous for his colorful paintings of mouthwatering cakes, pies, pastries, and everyday items. While his work enjoys a broad appeal and evokes a distinctly American nostalgia, Thiebaud’s complex depictions of light and shadow give depth and mystery to his deceptively simple compositions. (November 15, 1920 - December 25, 2021)

bottom of page