This is a good time to Celebrate Wayne Thiebaud, American painter, born in 1920; that makes him one hundred years old; at least he will be on November 15. And he's still painting!
This was my first Thiebaud; I found it in the postcard rack at the Whitney gift shop. I couldn't believe it was a painting and I couldn't stop staring at it. Those patterns, the lush paint, those creamy pies. It was delicious. I loved that something so fun, so pretty, was thought of as ART.
Stephen Kinzer wrote in the NY Times,
"In other hands, these objects could easily become Pop Art or Kitsch. Mr.Thiebaud, however, paints them respectfully, without a hint of irony."
In February2001 the Phillips Collection in Washington DC held a retrospective of his paintings.
This is the Corcoran Gallery, also in DC, and they held a show of Thiebaud's prints. It's a handsomer building than the Phillips.
This is the page in my diary from the week I visited that show. I read about it in the Times and even though it was coming to New York in the spring I didn't wait. I made a date with two of my southern relatives, my sister-in-law, Donna, and cousin Kate. We met there and had a fabulous time.
Can you read the quote from Barnet Newman? It says about a painting of three gumball machines,
" Shiny objects of desire...This painting is hope and possibility...evocation of the American Dream...All those globes of colored beauty-and for a penny out comes something sweet and wonderful."
The Phillips Collection Newsletter says "the artist's colorfully modern style combines representation and abstraction, seriousness and wit, historical references and direct observations."
I bought the catalog.
He also paints humans and landscapes.
In the book, I've kept all reviews from that time.
Thiebaud says he steals from other artists. "It's hard for me to think of artists who weren't influential on me because I'm such an obsessive thief." He lists Ingres, Vermeer, Horace Pippin, Rockwell Kent.
I found something in Thiebaud to steal. He often gives his figures a heavy outline in a contrasting, or complementary color. Here I tried it with Mariano Rivera.
I'm not waiting 'til November to say Happy Birthday, Congratulations and Thank You,
(It's pronounced Teebow)