Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004

Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004

Brand: Flesk Publications
Product Code: 978-1-882705-11-5
Availability: In Stock
Price: $40.00

Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004 Exhibit Catalog
(This book was packaged and designed by Flesk Publications for the Frederick R. Wesiman Museum of Art. This exhibit was held from January 11 to March 30, 2014)

In 1962 Wayne Thiebaud debuted a new group of paintings of common American food. His iconic depictions of cakes and pies, candy and ice cream focused on the seductively sweet desserts found in any diner or supermarket. These paintings became an overnight success and established his reputation as a founder of a newly emerging cultural movement—Pop Art. Yet Thiebaud never liked the Pop Art label and almost immediately began to pursue other directions. He preferred to see himself as a realist working in the grand tradition of western representational art, as an heir to the great masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, Chardin and Degas, Balthus and Morandi.

Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004 is an exhibition hardcover catalog of eighty-five prints and drawings that explores his rich dialogue with the visual language of graphic art. Drawn from the holdings of the artist’s work in the collection of the University Library Gallery at California State University, Sacramento, it provides a survey of the various printmaking media he has explored through his long career and includes examples of his woodcuts, serigraphs, etchings, lithographs and monotypes. It also offers insight into his favorite subjects—everyday American food, the urban landscape of San Francisco, the majestic mountain scenery of Yosemite and the lyric, arcadian, agricultural fields of the Sacramento River Valley.

At the heart of his art—and this exhibition—is his fascination with drawing. Thiebaud worked as a cartoonist, animator and graphic artist for years before he studied art in college. This practical, on-the-job training gave him a deep respect for the craft of the handmade image. It also made him appreciate the seminal role of drawing in all visual art. Thiebaud never looked at drawing as a way to copy what one sees. Like a cartoonist or an animator, he combined the perceptual with the conceptual and used drawing to create and invent new objects and places. His powerfully graphic prints and drawings offer a look into a world parallel to our own—a fascinating and alluring realm that uses line, shape and color to create striking compositions of the things and places we thought we knew well.

Born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona, Wayne Thiebaud grew up in Long Beach, California, where he was an athletic student who showed an interest in drawing. In 1936-37 he worked as an animation apprentice at Walt Disney Studios. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps as a cartoonist and an illustrator. After the war he worked as an art director and a graphic artist in Los Angeles. Deciding to leave commercial art to become a fine artist, he moved north and attended San Jose State College (1949-50) and California State College at Sacramento (B.A., 1951; M.A., 1953). In the 1950s he came under the influence of Abstract Expressionism and adopted that improvisational, gestural style to depict everyday subjects. By the late 1950s he had grown tired of Expressionism and began to create his signature paintings of iconic American desserts in 1960. An exhibition of these new works at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York in 1962 was an instant national success. Thiebaud was heralded as a founder of the new Pop Art movement. Never comfortable with the Pop Art label, he chose to assert his identity as a realist. He soon embarked on new subjects beyond food, creating paintings of people and the picturesque cliffs of Yosemite through the 1960s. In 1972 he purchased a home in San Francisco and began a new series on the vertical urban landscape. In his later years he adopted a more lyrical subject and painted the lush agricultural fields of the Sacramento River Valley Delta.

A native New Yorker, Michael Zakian has been director and curator of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art since 1995. He studied art history at Columbia University and later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey. While his main area of specialization is American Abstract Expressionism, he has always had a deep interest in drawing and the craft of representational art. He recently has focused on examining the current revival of realist painting.

The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University was dedicated in 1992 and showcases historical and contemporary art by nationally recognized artists with a particular focus on the art of California. This is Wayne Thiebaud’s third major exhibition at the museum. When the building opened in 1991, the first show was paintings by Thiebaud. To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the museum organized Wayne Thiebaud: Works from 1955 to 2003. Highlights of past exhibitions include Agnes Pelton: Poet of Nature (1996), Rodin’s Obsession: The Gates of Hell (2001), Claes Oldenburg: Drawings (2004), Chihuly Los Angeles (2005), Jim Dine: Some Drawings (2007), Roy Lichtenstein: In Process (2011) and Illustrating Modern Life: The Golden Age of American Illustration from the Kelly Collection (2013).

By Michael Zakian
Media Hardcover with jacket
Pages 112
Size 10 x 12 inches