Archive for April 8, 2012

Painters of Food…..Wayne Thiebaud…

A brief story and interview with the artist on CBS. It was made in 2008.

A story from Smithsonian Magazine dealing with the artist and his painting of cakes and such boring objects as slot machines.

Another short story with the artist as he assembles works for a retrospective showing his 50 years at the easel. He talks about the process of painting.

mediums used: oils, charcoal, pastel, pencil, lithograph, gouache, woodcut, etching, aquatint  ( The artist seems to have tried everything but sculpture!)

surfaces used: paper, canvas

low price range: $4,000 etchings and prints

high priced range:  $3.5 million dollars

This artist was born in 1920 and paints in a colorful and expressive manner. A great master of design he is known for using the same basic shape in a variety of areas on a canvas.  Although the artists paints a wide variety of subjects I want to talk about his food paintings the most. His landscapes deserve some attention for their vantage points. Many times the viewer is above the subject as if on a plane looking down.

The artist was born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona to a Mormon family.  At age 16 he worked for a short time in the animation department for Disney making in between drawings and earning $14 per week. He enrolled in the Air Force and was an artist from 1942- 1945. Bachelors and masters degree from University of California at Sacramento in the early 1950s.

Has worked in the commercial art world as a sign painter and brochure designer. He finally gained some attention as a pop artist movement in the 1960s. The artist might take something that wouldn’t ordinarily grab your attention, but with brush in hand people started paying attention to simple colorful objects such as fire hydrants, cakes, ice cream cones, and gum ball machines.

As far as portrait work his compositions are unique in that the figure often appears  on an empty page with a stark white background. It makes the viewer concentrate on the mood of the figure. Very emotional painter when it comes to the figure.

Taught  painting at Sacramento City College and University California Davis. Although he retired many years ago he loves to teach and remain close to art. Art history is very important to the artist and loves such traditional painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer although his approach is far more contemporary to the Dutch masters.

Whilst on a leave of absence from teaching in the 1950s he met some Abstract Expressionist painters. Franz Kline,  Elaine De Kooning, as well Jasper Johns.  He started painting the food he saw in restaurant and cafe windows.

This artist has to be given kudos for his longevity! His main art dealer he met in the 60s passed away. The artist’s son Paul then took over as dealer, but he passed away in 2010.

The artist’s main break came in 1962 when he was included along with Warhol and the other Pop Artists in an exhibition titled the New Painting of Common Objects.

Given the Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

This artist is a treasure to the art world. I encourage to see his work in person if you can. Notice how his use of warm colors in the shadow areas make his work unique and give the subjects added depth. His landscapes are incredible for their use of perspective since most are seen from above looking down. His Delta series landscapes are the ones to look at in this group and one large acrylic in this series sold for more than $2 million dollars.

Since its Easter tomorrow find something that you want to eat, and paint it first.

This artist has been highly productive in his career. I chose not to list any particular galleries since he seems to always have prints or originals at auction.

Happy painting!

D