Sketchbook page drawings by Wayne Thiebaud

Bring The Morgan Library’s ‘Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman’ Show Home with You

By Stephanie Sporn

For fans craving Thiebaud, Sotheby’s is offering five works on paper by the artist in its summer online auctions: Contemporary Prints and Multiples Online (6–19 July, Online) and Contemporary Art Online: NYC (13–20 July, Online).


B efore Wayne Thiebaud painted drool-worthy pies and cakes, the legendary Californian artist was a cartoonist and commercial illustrator. In Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman, The Morgan Library & Museum in New York spotlights this lesser-known side of Thiebaud by exploring his full range of works on paper for the first time. While pastel confections are included, the exhibition also features watercolors, charcoal drawings, cartoons, doodles and sketches, each uniquely reflecting how adept Thiebaud was at embracing the potential of each medium, no matter the subject.

Monochrome print of cake slices by Wayne Thiebaud


Among the desserts in the Morgan's show are Shelf of Pies, Nine Jelly Apples, Candy Sticks, Ice Cream Cone and Cakes No. 1. Sotheby’s Contemporary Prints and Multiples Online auction (6–19 July, Online) has four Thiebaud works that will also satisfy sweet tooths. Lots 1 and 2, Suckers State II and Suckers State I present two versions of striped lollipops. As evidenced by these prints and those in Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman, the artist could achieve sheen and other visual effects in a black and white palette as easily as in color. Similarly with Half Cakes, lot 4, Thiebaud conveys through the use of positive and negative space that each cake is a different flavor – a minimal yet genius graphic treatment.

Red print of candy suckers by Wayne Thiebaud


In Thiebaud’s Candy Counter, lot 3, the viewer is treated to a wider shot of bonbons on display, where on the right side of the image, the composition evokes Candy Sticks and Jelly Apples from The Morgan’s current exhibition. Thiebaud was fascinated by buffets, spreads and the concept of meticulously arranging objects to entice customers. “I am interested in foods generally which have been fooled with ritualistically, displays contrived and arranged in certain ways to tempt us or to seduce us or to religiously transcend us,” a Thiebaud quote in The Morgan’s exhibition read.

A monochrome print of a candy counter by Wayne Thiebaud


The Morgan also highlights sketchbook page drawings by the artist, which illuminate his process and classical training. The sketched figures in Untitled, 1996, featured in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Online: NYC auction (13–20 July, Online), exemplify Thiebaud’s extraordinary draughtsmanship and closely relate to the drawings in The Morgan's exhibition. This work comes from the esteemed collection of Allan Stone, who was Thiebaud’s New York representative for more than forty years.

Sketchbook page drawings by Wayne Thiebaud


Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman will be open at The Morgan Library & Museum through 28 September 2018.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.