WAYNE THIEBAUD | DISPLAY ROWS
signed, dated 1990 and inscribed hand colored trial proof; a working color trial proof hand worked with watercolor, acrylic and gouache on lithograph on the lower edge
hand colored lithograph
Sheet: 36 by 28¾ in. (91.4 by 73 cm)
Framed: 39¼ by 32½ in. (99.7 by 82.6 cm)
Please note that this work will be exhibited at Sotheby’s. Purchased items will be available for collection at Crozier Fine Arts, 1 Star Ledger Plaza, Newark, NJ as of Thursday, December 13th.
Executed in 1990. This work is a unique hand-colored proof aside from an edition of 60.
The work is in very good condition overall. The sheet is archivally hinged on the reverse to the backing board. The edges are deckled. There are artist's pinholes in the upper edge. There is minor oxidation to the upper left pinhole, not visible when framed, likely from past installation. There is minor undulation to the sheet. There are very minor areas of discoloration in some areas where the mat touches the margin, not visible when framed. Framed under Plexiglas.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
New York, Associated American Artists, Wayne Thiebaud: Still Lifes and Landscapes, October - November 1993, no.22 (another example exhibited)
Santa Cruz, The Museum of Art and History, The McPherson Center, Marini's: A Sweet History, October 2004 - January 2005 (another example exhibited)
New York, Allan Stone Projects, Farm-to-Table: Epicurean Works from the Allan Stone Collection, June - August 2017
Wayne Thiebaud was fascinated by the pictorial possibilities of still-life subjects drawn from everyday American life, such as cakes, pies, and objects displayed in windows across the country. There is a democratic aura to these objects of middle-class consumption, both in their accessible nature and in the way they stand in rows in an individualized yet egalitarian manner. Thiebaud used visual rhythm to imbue otherwise banal objects of daily American life with an iconic resonance. In these still lifes of rows of confections, “Thiebaud used a serial composition to study the dialectic between systematic repetition and individual variation” (Karen Tsujimoto, Wayne Thiebaud, Seattle 1985, p. 44).
Since the early 1960s, one of Wayne Thiebaud’s signature motifs has been still lifes of mass-produced foodstuffs and objects. Thiebaud has espoused a “belief in the tradition of modernism: that one should be able to make art out of anything. If Duchamp could claim a urinal as modern sculpture, why question Thiebaud’s paintings of gumball machines and cream pies?” (Ibid., p. 36). Thiebaud’s initial choice of subject is purely formal, a means for organizing a visual composition. It is through the unselfconscious application of various techniques that his subjects become something more. In Thiebaud’s words “common objects become strangely uncommon when removed from their context and ordinary ways of being seen” (Gene Cooper, Wayne Thiebaud: Survey of Painting 1950-1972, Long Beach 1972. n.p.). Thiebaud often places his still life subjects on a white or near white background in order to eliminate the effects that an environment might have on an object’s true colors. One of the many distinctive Thiebaud motifs is a phenomenon known as halation, limning objects with complimentary colors that make then pulsate and helps soften the edges in order to merge them with their white background. These “rings” of color “give to his pictures not just a sense of the shiver of light in a particular place but also the sense that the scene has the interior life and unnatural emphases of something recalled from memory” (Adam Gopnik, "The Art World: Window Gazing," New Yorker, April 29. 1991, p. 79). In addition, he invests great detail in highly specific color in the shadows that his still life subjects cast, intensifying the presence of the objects in space. In order to create a sense of energy and to seemingly freeze an object in the moment, Thiebaud tends to apply paint in viscous strokes that ring the objects with an air of tension. Ultimately, Thiebaud’s still lifes explore ways for objects to transcend their normal associations. “Thiebaud’s method…has the effect not of eliminating the Pop resonance of his subjects but of slowing down and chastening the associations they evoke, so that a host of ambivalent feelings—nostalgic and satiric and elegiac—can come back later, calmed down and contemplative: enlightened” (Ibid., p. 80).
Wayne Thiebaud was born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona. From 1938-1949 he was a cartoonist and designer in California and New York. He also served as an artist in the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces from 1942-1945. Thiebaud attended San Jose State College (now San Jose State University) followed by Sacramento State College (now California State University, Sacramento), where he received his BA in 1951 and his MA in 1952, For over fifty years, Thiebaud has been a fixture of American Art, the recipient of numerous awards, with highlights including the 1994 National Medal of Arts, given by the then President Clinton, a 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Design, and a 2007 Bay Area Treasure Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Thiebaud has been honored with gallery and museum exhibitions almost every year since 1960, highlighted by a 1985 retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a 2001 retrospective that traveled from the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Allan Stone began representing Wayne Thiebaud in 1962, just as he began to develop his most admired themes. Over the years he rose from relative obscurity as a miscategorized California Pop artist to one of the most celebrated painters of the twentieth century. Thiebaud lives and works in Sacramento, California.