Wayne Thiebaud: American Memories


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February 23-June 1, 2014

Wayne Thiebaud is one of the world’s most popular and respected painters. Born in 1920, he has lived for most of his life in Sacramento, although he spent much of his youth with his family in Long Beach and remains sentimentally attached to Southern California, especially Laguna Beach. He suggested the idea of the exhibition and selected the works himself, an act of autobiography in a sense and part of the reason for the title American Memories. At 93 years of age, he looked back over his life and his work.
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The exhibition ranged over Thiebaud’s career as a painter, draftsman, and printmaker from 1959 to 2014. It featured many of the still lifes of pies, cakes, desserts, candies, and other objects—lusciously painted, brightly colored, perfectly composed, and gently comic—for which he is best known. Such works made his name in 1962, when an exhibition of them at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York attracted rave reviews and, to the discomfort of the artist himself, led critics to see him as part of the Pop Art movement. The other artistic genres that he has cultivated most avidly since then are landscape and cityscape, with special interests in the Sacramento River valley and San Francisco, and these are richly represented in the exhibition too. It also included the six prints and a painting (Jolly Cones) that are Thiebaud’s promised gift to Laguna Art Museum.
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Wayne Thiebaud: American Memories was made possible through the generous support of Keith Swayne.
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Additional exhibition funding was provided by Mitchell and Joan Markow.
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Images above, left to right: Toy Counter, serigraph, artist’s proof, 1970; Jolly Cones, oil on panel, c. 2002; Yo-Yos, woodcut, second state, artist’s proof, 1964, Laguna Art Museum Collection, promised gifts of the artist, 2013
Art © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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