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Wayne Thiebaud Prints

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Wayne Thiebaud is an active painter from Long Beach, California by way of Mesa, Arizona. Well known for his paintings of cakes and other pastries, Thiebaud’s most recent notable work is from 2010 and is referred to as The Google 12th Birthday Cake. The painting features a cake with the word Google using the “L” as a candle.

Before he moved to California with his family at the age of 6, Thiebaud sometimes was forced to accompany his sister to work in Arizona. Thiebaud’s sister worked in a restaurant and as the story goes, the well-known painter spent the time drawing in a booth which happened to be located near the cakes and pies. With much of his work being paintings of cakes, pies and other pastries, it is fair to say that his experiences at his sister place of employment influenced his work later in life.

However, Thiebaud painted much more than just pastries. Perhaps not as well-known but stunning nonetheless are his landscapes, cityscapes and figures. The most popular of his landscapes is Coloma Ridge and Hill Street (Day City) is perhaps his most famous cityscape. Both offer mind-bending perspectives of what would otherwise be everyday sights. His figures however are another story altogether. Most of his subjects are women and they are oftentimes in a swimsuit, partially nude or fully nude. Though Thiebaud does manage to depict the women with taste.

Thiebaud has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from what is now California State University, Sacramento. However, before college, Thiebaud worked as a cartoonist and a designer. Thiebaud also was a professor at Sacramento City College and the University of California, Davis before becoming famous. He is still a professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis and as of a few years ago was still teaching and his course was very popular with the students.

In addition to his many stunning works of art, Thiebaud has received a number of rewards including the National medal of Arts, presented by President Clinton, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Design and in 2010, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. His background in teaching as well as his successes in the art world have led to his mentoring of other famous artists such as Fritz Scholder and Mel Ramos.

Thiebaud is generally associated with both the Pop Art movement as well as New Realism however some critics prefer to place him in a more classical genre of painting. This is due to critics considering many of his paintings as still life paintings and portraits better suited to the 18th century rather than sort of the cookie cutter, assembly line modern style which is perhaps identified best with Andy Warhol, whom Thiebaud found to be “flat.” It’s worth noting that Thiebaud was uncomfortable with being classified in the Pop Art movement. Indeed, when you look closely to the way Thiebaud works to create different light in seemingly the same painting or similar paintings.

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