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Wayne Thiebaud Exhibit Opens at Weisman Museum

From January 11 to March 30, 2014, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art will display an important selection of prints and drawings from California Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud. Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004 will open with a public reception on Saturday, January 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.

California realist Wayne Thiebaud played a seminal role in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. He developed a national following in 1962 with his signature paintings of popular American food. His pies, cakes, ice cream cones, and other sweets quickly won the hearts of the public with their nostalgic imagery, iconic compositions, and vibrant color. While he made his reputation as a Pop artist, Thiebaud never remained bound within limits of that style. He considers himself a realist who has spent his artistic career exploring a host of traditional subjects, ranging from people to everyday objects to California landscapes.

Thiebaud "Eight Lipsticks"Wayne Thiebaud, Eight Lipsticks, 1988.
Color drypoint etching, 16 x 14 inches,
©Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA,
New York, NY. All rights reserved.

This exhibition of Thiebaud's works on paper includes 85 works and traces his long-standing fascination with drawing and printmaking. It includes examples of various techniques he explored throughout his career—woodcut, etching, lithograph, screen-print, and monotype. He used each to explore unique graphic affects. His earliest print, dating from 1948, is a modernist self-portrait inspired by Picasso.

In the 1950s Thiebaud worked in a figurative expressionist style and used serigraphs to capture bold, spontaneous gestures. When he embarked on his famous Pop Art food paintings in the early 1960s, he used woodblock prints to create striking patterns of elemental lights and darks. Over the years he continually turned to etching, which he considers his favorite type of printmaking. As he explained, "There's nothing really that I've ever found in other lines that is like an etched line--its fidelity, the richness of it, the density; you just don't get that any other way."

This is Thiebaud's third major exhibition at the Weisman Museum of Art. When the museum opened in 1991, its first show featured paintings by Thiebaud. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum's dedication, Wayne Thiebaud: Works from 1955-2003 was organized in 2003. As the Weisman Museum enters its second decade, it revisits this renowned California artist with an exhibition of Thiebaud's drawings and prints.

Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004 was organized by Michael Zakian, director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, and includes works drawn from the collection of the University Library Gallery at California State University, Sacramento. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover exhibition catalog.

Born in Mesa, AZ, in 1920, Thiebaud grew up in Long Beach, CA, where he attended high school. In 1936 he served as a summer apprentice in the animation department at Walt Disney Studios. From 1939 to 1949 he worked as a cartoonist, sign painter, and illustrator. He attended San Jose State College (1949-1950) and California State College at Sacramento (B.A., 1951; M.A., 1953). In the 1950s he came under the influence of Abstract Expressionism and in 1956 visited New York, where he met Willem de Kooning. In 1962 Thiebaud had a one-person exhibition at the Alan Stone Gallery in New York that introduced his Pop Art paintings of food. Afterwards he continued to broaden his subject matter. In the 1970s he turned to landscape, producing a series of rural scenes inspired by Yosemite and urban sites based on the hills of San Francisco. His most recent series, begun in the 1990s, explores the Sacramento River Delta.

For more information, call (310) 506-4851 or visit the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art website.

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