I cannot remember the exact moment when I was first introduced to the work of Wayne Thiebaud but I can say that I fell in love with his work at a young age. Growing up in California, I saw his prints and reproductions and responded, like so many, to his use of color, composition and light.
Years later as a young designer and artist I would attend gallery openings to see his originals and have remained enamored with his work ever since. To stand in front of his work in a gallery or museum adds hugely to the experience and is invaluable to understand this important artist.
In graduate school I attended a class titled "Fear of Painting" taught by NY based artist George Woodman. As I was indeed terrified of painting—I had earned my seat in that class. One day he inquired, whether or not any of us had ever seen the Mona Lisa. We all raised our hands thinking "of course we've seen her!"— only to discover what he was really getting at: "have you visited the Louvre and stood in front of that iconic painting and actually viewed the original". I mention this story because I feel the same way about Wayne Thiebaud's work — if you can pull it off, you owe it to yourself to see his work in person. When standing in front of his paintings you are able to appreciate the texture and mark-making with thick paint [often compared to icing on his paintings of confections] as well as respond to his color palette and the overall feel of the work. Although he is sometimes referred to as being a part of the Pop Art Movement, Thiebaud works from life rather than from cultural/media images. He is well known for his perfect desserts, landscapes and portraits. I find myself drawn in not only by the overarching subject matter of his work but also by the intensity of color that lives in the shadows of a Thiebaud eclair, figure or building or in the simple mark of an implied horizon line that stands behind rows of pies and shoes or moves forward to imply the edge of a table.
49 of his works are currently on exhibition now through November 21, 2014 at Acquavella Galleries in New York. The show titled "Wayne Thiebaud:A Retrospective" includes works that have not been shown to the public before.
Additionally you can see his work on 1st Dibs, a favorite hot spot for rare antique and vintage finds. They are currently featuring drawings, paintings, prints and multiples of his work.
To see more about the exhibit:: Wayne Thiebaud
Drop us a note in the comments section below and tell us what you think of his work. We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you to Acquavella Galleries for permission to use all photographs.
Art © Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY