Wayne Thiebaud, a California-based painter, finds life and paintings with lush, dreamy landscapes and bright photographs of hot dogs, deli counters, marching band majorettes, and other fascinating relics of mid-century Americana. It was a complex meditation on and was one of the most influential individuals. A variation of 20th century pop art died on Saturday at his home in Sacramento. He was 101 years old.
His death was confirmed by his gallery, Aquabella.
To be honest, Thibaw wasn’t really a pop painter. The slander sometimes tried to put him in the pigeon hole alone or as an illustrator. In fact, like many historical artists he admired, he was a master of everyday life and its deep and subtle symbolism.
Personally, he was an old Western classic, a slender man with Gary Couperish charm and dry humor. Often in the Pacific sunshine, Thibaw’s art saw the brilliance of the first flash and the plains as the sun. However, upon closer inspection, a photo of an idealized pie, highway spaghetti entanglement, and a blue halo-fringed gumball machine had to be unpacked. The buzz of unexpected sorrow occasionally sneaked into the painting after its first rush of leaps and bounds — a non-emotional nostalgia for a bygone, or a long-lost love.
A lifelong teacher, Thibaw was based on the craftsmanship of his art, slowly and painstakingly earned. This approach linked him to past Americans like Thomas Eakins and John James Audubon, as well as praised Europeans like Jean Simeon Chardin and Giorgio Morandi.
That said, Thibaw’s photo was the exact opposite of its mechanical appearance, with a surface as rich and thick as the icing of his painted layer cake. This tactile luxury was one of the things that set him apart from classic pop painting.
Introduced in the early 1960s, like Philip Pearlstein, Alfred Leslie, and Alex Katz, Thibaw clearly evolved deadpan-style sculpture. Affectionately, usually alone, the people in his paintings look exactly like Willy Roman in a non-conforming business suit sitting on a paperback book and Twiggy in a yellow dress and groovy white boots. Can remind you of. They were faded Polaroid-like portraits.
The effect that Thibaw once said was, “It was like meeting a stranger for the first time in a place like an air terminal. When I see him, I notice his shoes, suits, and pins on his collar. I have no special feelings about him. “
Wayne Thiebaud (pronounced T-bow) was born on November 15, 1920 in Mesa, Arizona. His maternal grandmother was one of the first Mormons to live in Utah in the mid-19th century. His father, the inventor, moved his family to Long Beach, California when Wayne was a baby. With the Great Depression, the family returned to Utah to start farming.
Thibaw explained that he milked cows, shot deer for meat and planted alfalfa in his childhood. His uncle, amateur cartoonist Jess, entertained him by painting. He attributed that experience to his early interest in art, as well as reading comics.
He later gave up Mormonism, and farming and life in Utah, but the scenery remained with him. Later, Thibaw painted a heated, slightly antique landscape, an almost abstract grid of imaginary fields and rivers that looked like they were seen from a bird’s point of view. These are based on childhood memories, filtered through a study of Chinese painting and Monet, and then mashed up with the actual scenery of the Sacramento Valley where Mr. Thibaw finally settled.
Poetic scenes of ingenious colors can look as complex as his pie looks simple. In such photographs, Mr. Thibaw became a provider of Western light, Western silence, and Western space, as well as Western sights.
He studied commercial art in high school, did a strange job as a sign painter and cartoonist, and worked briefly as an apprentice animator at Disney Studios (as Hibari, he trained himself to draw popeye with both hands at the same time. Did, it helped him get a gig), and devised an illustration of a movie poster.
In the Army during World War II, he worked as an illustrator for the Air Corps newspaper, and after the war he got a job drawing a cartoon for the in-house magazine of the Lexor Pharmaceutical Company in Los Angeles, where he had a colleague. Robert Marelli encouraged him to think seriously about painting as a career.
So he did.
He turned to the New York School, which was popular at the time, and began by drawing expressionist paintings like John Marin. However, he did not lose his respect for commercial art, and in this early work he sought to marry the freedom and necessary skills associated with expressionism and the commercial art of shorthand ingenuity.
He eventually owed to Willem de Kooning, a New York School paragon where Krazy Kat and Mickey Mouse, Edward Hopper and Joaquín Sorolla, a Spanish academic painter at the turn of the century, and Thibaw met. Was owed. I lived in New York for a short time in the 1950s.
He would later say that he especially praised the way De Kooning found a way to “illuminate the photo from the inside.” As New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik once observed, it was part of Thibaw’s genius to extract from such different artists what became the essential quality of his own work.
By the early 1960s, Thibaw had created paintings such as “Four Pinball Machines,” “Bakery Counters,” and “Cakes” while exhibiting at the Alan Stone Gallery in New York. Instantly grouped with the soaring pop movement, he quickly gained fame, but in essence, he shared little of Pop’s kneeling tendency towards consumer satire. For Mr. Thibaw, the humble things he drew and the everyday people and friends were touching and worthy of respect. Like him, they remained loyal to themselves, the quality that his art admired.
He also, for good reason, became associated with Bay Area metaphors such as David Park and Richard Diebenkorn, who played a major role in the evolution of the California art scene in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Diebenkorn. Prior to the technological revolution, the Bay Area was a prosperous and independent art center, and Thibaw embodied its best features.
Among them was a rich short-sighted attachment, self-importance, and a modest, playful, healthy distance maintained from the world of eastern greenhouse art, with Shibboleth. Mr. Thibaw sometimes enjoyed the world. The picture of the tie drawer became a mock of Morris Lewis. A photo of scattered crayons impersonating Richard Serra. Humor deflated the pretense that Mr. Thibaw was directly missing.
Thibaw, a longtime professor at the University of California, Davis, counted very different artists like Bruce Nauman among his descendants. As his work became more and more exchanged for astronomical amounts, he became a regular guest at university museums. Throughout his later years, major museums regularly staged exhibitions of his work.
In 2018, the Morgan Library & Museum in New York published a study of his paper works, Wayne Thiebaud: The Drafting Engineer. By that time, Mr. Thibaw was 97 years old. His second wife, filmmaker Betty Jean, died in 2015. In 2010, his son Paul, who ran the Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco and New York, died of cancer.
From the first marriage to Patricia Patterson, the two daughters of Twin Kassibo and Marie Anne Thiebaud, six grandchildren survived from the second marriage, as well as her son Matt Baltic...
During his last years, he continued to play the unlikely clever and cunning games of tennis and paint. At the age of 100, he was still in court, occasionally calling his friends and working on new themes. I met a clown when I was a boy selling newspapers to customers participating in the circus. The memory of those encounters remained with him.
“I never stopped being excited and surprised,” he said.
“I wake up every morning and paint,” he added. “I’m curious, but I can’t stop.”