Wayne Thiebaud Since 1962: A Survey
April 2 – May 27, 2005
In 1962, Wayne Thiebaud had his first New York exhibition at the Allan Stone Gallery.
His latest exhibition Wayne Thiebaud Since 1962: A Survey will be on view at the Allan Stone Gallery from April 2 – May 27, 2005.
The exhibition includes oils, watercolors and works on paper, and traces the evolution of Wayne Thiebaud’s work from the mid 1950s to the signature food paintings of the 1960s, on to the still lifes, figurative works, vertiginous streetscapes and the most recent Delta river landscapes.
The food and pastry paintings, which appeared in 1962, reveal Thiebaud’s signature style – the subject matter, dramatization of the picture plane, rich surfaces, and heightened palette.
The pre-1960s paintings illustrate Thiebaud’s influences and origins. Both Richard Diebenkorn and Giorgio Morandi had a strong influence on the emerging Thiebaud, as did the Spanish Impressionist Joaquin Sorrola. Thiebaud admired Sorrola’s depiction of light and atmosphere, as well as his premier coup paint handling.
Thiebaud’s paintings of cakes and pies, and other banal, contemporary objects were a natural progression from French Fries (1961). The subsequent iconic use of food served Automat-style evokes a feeling of familiarity and comfort, yet beneath the American-style optimism lies a sentiment of isolation and melancholy.
This mood is also reflected in Thiebaud’s figurative works. His portrayal of everyday people reflects a Hopper-esque loneliness and isolation.
San Francisco inspired his urban landscape paintings. Packed with visual stimulus, the streetscapes draw in, and at the same time disorient the viewer. The Delta river landscapes are similarly disorienting but have a quiet calm that reflects their natural origins.
Wayne Thiebaud was born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona. While still in high school, he worked at Walt Disney Studios and later was an artist and cartoonist for the U.S. Air Force. He has taught at University of California at Davis since 1960, and received the National Medal for Arts Presidential Award for teaching from President Clinton in 1994. In 2001, the traveling exhibition A Painting Retrospective originated at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and closed at The Whitney Museum in New York City.