- Wayne Thiebaud
- Deviled Eggs
- signed and dated 1962; signed on the stretcher
- oil on canvas
- 7 by 9 1/4 in.
- 17.8 by 23.5 cm.
By descent to the present owner
Deviled Eggs, 1962, dating from the same year as the breakthrough Allan Stone show, depicts two diagonal rows of open faces eggs. Layers of mayonnaise and mustard along with sprinkles of paprika punctuate the surface of the canvas. The viewer can almost smell of pungency of each of the elements mixed in the palm size hors d'oeuvres that seem to almost leap off the canvas and ready for eating. The eggs are framed off center on the canvas; the last is nearly severed in half, partially removed from the picture plane. This technique appeared in his celebrated Pies composition from 1961 and was repeated in Candies from 1965-1966. Thus, at the edges of the canvas, an abstract composition takes form. The gesture of the painter’s hand along with the thick application of paint coincides with Abstract Expressionist painting techniques embraced by the New York School.
Thiebaud likely painted the subject from his memory rather than from an actual still life set up. The layout of the composition was likely the result of the artist’s professional training as an illustrator and cartoonist. The artist explained his working method as follows: “Working from memory, I tried to arrange [the object] in a way that an art director arranges things…I tried to be more careful, tried to be more refined and interesting in terms of relationships (Exh. Cat., San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Wayne Thiebaud, 1985, p. 35) .”