(1920 - )
Wayne Thiebaud is best known for his iconic still lifes of “all-American” foods and products, such as cakes, pies, sandwiches, cosmetics, and toys. He is also celebrated for his vertiginous San Francisco cityscapes and his richly hued views of Northern California. Known for his plain-spoken style and self-deprecating sense of humor, Thiebaud is linked to the long tradition of painting from observation.
Although he has been frequently associated with Pop Art due to his choice of subject matter, Thiebaud does not consider himself a Pop artist, nor does he align himself with the Bay Area figurative movement. His painting does not critique American culture so much as celebrate it, and his brushwork is more individual and expressive than the flat, mechanized style favored by Pop artists such as Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist. Thiebaud himself disavows an allegiance to any style, preferring to concentrate on the discipline of painting and his formal concerns. This focus places him in context with earlier painters he admires, including Giorgio Morandi, Edward Hopper, and the 18th-century French painter Chardin.
Wayne Thiebaud is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2001, he was honored with a retrospective and monograph organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The show traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C, and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. His work is held by major museums in the United States and abroad.