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Wayne Thiebaud papers, 1944 - 2001

Wayne Thiebaud papers, 1944 - 2001

Thiebaud, Wayne, 1920-

Painter, Designer, Teacher, Printmaker, Illustrator

Collection Information

Size: 1.0 linear ft.

Summary: Papers of Sacramento painter, printmaker, and teacher Wayne Thiebaud document his prolific painting career through exhibition catalogs and announcements, printed materials with his imagery, and photographs of Thiebaud teaching and with other artists, including Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Estes, Gregory Kondos, Roy Lichtenstein, Barnett Newman, Claes Oldenburg, Philip Pearlstein, Mel Ramos, Harold Rosenberg, and others. Also found are one teaching file, 10 sketchbook pages and 10 smaller ink drawings and cartoons, and ephemera that includes a collectible watch with Thiebaud's artwork printed on the face and band, a palette, paint brushes, and plastic lids from tennis ball cans used to mix paint.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, art teacher; Sacramento, Calif.; b. 1920


Donated 2001 by Wayne Thiebaud.

A Finding Aid to the Wayne Thiebaud Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1920 and raised in Long Beach, California. After graduating high school, he worked as a free-lance cartoonist, commercial artist, and stage technician. He later landed a job at the Walt Disney studios as an 'in-betweener' filling in individual film frames started by animators. Thiebaud joined the Air Force in 1942 where he painted murals and began to create cartoons and illustrations.
After his service in the war, Thiebaud went to California State College in Sacramento to study art and art history. His work remained figurative but gained a conceptual dimension as he read, studied, taught, and exhibited a great deal in Northern California. During the late 1950s, Thiebaud spent time in New York City with artists such as Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Barnett Newman and other painters of their generation.
Thiebaud's work found its national audience in 1962 with his first exhibition, Wayne Thiebaud: Recent Paintings, at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York and his participation in the "New Realists" exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery during the same New York season. In that memorable year, when Pop Art burst upon the American cultural scene, Thiebaud's more painterly images of food and other familiar objects found an audience that has grown with each passing decade. Thiebaud's exhibition of store counters, suburban consumers, tie racks, cakes and pies seemed to comment upon American consumer culture as did his New York contemporaries. However, his thickly painted strangely illuminated forms had a pathos and a humor that was seldom found in Pop Art. Thiebaud's roots were more likely in the urban melancholy of Edward Hopper and the robust painterly style of Willem de Kooning.
Wayne Thiebaud has served as faculty member of the art department at the University of California at Davis for more than thirty years. At this writing, he lives and works in Sacramento, California while also maintaining a studio in San Francisco. He is still affiliated with the Allan Stone Gallery. Thiebaud's work is currently found in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His recent 2000-2001 retrospective exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, traveled the nation to critical acclaim and great interest from the general public.
The Wayne Thiebaud papers are arranged as five series.
Series 1: Printed Material, 1965-2001, undated (Box 1-2; 12 folders)
Series 2: Writings, 1981, 2001, undated (Box 2; 1 folder)
Series 3: Photographs, 1944-1990, undated (Box 2; 1 folder)
Series 4: Original artwork, undated (Box 2, OV3; 1 folder, 1 oversize folder)
Series 5: Original artwork, undated (Box 2, OV3; 1 folder, 1 oversize folder)
Donated 2001 by Wayne Thiebaud.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Rosa Fernandez in 2002.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Wayne Thiebaud papers, 1944 - 2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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