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The Art Story Homepage Artists Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud Photo

Wayne Thiebaud

American Painter

Movements and Styles: Pop Art, Photorealism

Born: November 15, 1920 - Mesa, Arizona, United States

Wayne Thiebaud Timeline

"I don't make a lot of distinctions between things like landscape and figure painting, because to me the problems are inherently the same - lighting, color, structure and so on - certainly traditional and ordinary problems."

Summary

While rooted in the everyday, West Coast artist Wayne Thiebaud's compositions spring from his imagination and have a poetic, sometimes melancholic, quality about them. Thiebaud bucked artistic trends to create his own vision of American culture. Trained as a commercial artist and uninterested in the histrionics surrounding Abstract Expressionism, Thiebaud concentrated his attention on ordinary objects, thus garnering comparisons to Pop Art of the 1960s, yet Thiebaud brushed away such comparisons, saying he was "just an old-fashioned painter."

A popular teacher, Thiebaud was a generous mentor, and artists such as Mel Ramos, Fritz Scholder, and Faith Bromberg have spoken his praises. Further, Thiebaud's embrace of Americana - as seen through his bakery cases and landscapes - has endeared him to a wider audience that see something of themselves in his paintings.

Key Ideas

Thiebaud began his artistic path studying commercial art and illustration before turning to fine arts study, and this early training continues to inform his work. The linear, even illustrative, quality of his paintings suggest advertisements and commercial photographs. Thiebaud has always felt that the line between commercial and fine art is too rigidly drawn, and his work constantly transgresses that border.
While often associated with Pop Art because of a shared subject matter, Thiebaud is more often than not absorbed in traditional problems of painting - how to create depth without sacrificing the two-dimensionality of painting and how objects relate to one another. Though seemingly simple still lifes, Thiebaud evokes stories of plenty and loss, prompting more of an emotional response from the viewer that is absent in Pop Art.
Thiebaud has often spoken of the "Americanness" of his paintings. His depictions of cakes, pastries, everyday objects, and landscapes convey an earnestness and curiosity that can be traced back to the likes of Edward Hopper and earlier American art. While some have spoken of a melancholic, even sinister, mood in some of his paintings, they lack a biting critique, or rebuke, of American consumer culture and instead offer a meditation on it.
Wayne Thiebaud Photo

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1920. When he was only six months old, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he spent much of his early life in Long Beach, California. He also lived for a number of years on his uncle's ranch in Utah, as his large Mormon family retained roots in the Southwest.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Wayne Thiebaud
Interactive chart with Wayne Thiebaud's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Show influences

Artists

Giorgio MorandiGiorgio Morandi
Richard DiebenkornRichard Diebenkorn
Honoré DaumierHonoré Daumier
Jean-Baptiste Simeon ChardinJean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin

Personal Contacts

Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning
Robert Mallary
Franz KlineFranz Kline

Movements

FauvismFauvism
Commercial art
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud
Years Worked: c.1950 - Present
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Fred Dalkey

Personal Contacts

Fritz Scholder
Faith Bromberg
Garry Hutton
Mel Ramos
Sharon Core

Movements

Pop ArtPop Art
PhotorealismPhotorealism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Dawn Kanter

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Dawn Kanter
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
First published on 30 Apr 2019. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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