Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings

February 05, 2022 - May 08, 2022

Wayne Thiebaud, Pies, Pies, Pies, 1961. Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Philip L. Ehlert in memory of Dorothy Evelyn Ehlert, 1974.12. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Wayne Thiebaud, Betty Jean Thiebaud and Book, 1965-69. Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Thiebaud, 1969.21. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Wayne Thiebaud, Watermelon and Knife, 1989. Pastel on paper, 8 5/8 x 9 7/16 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of the Artist's family, 1995.9.30. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Wayne Thiebaud, Street and Shadow, 1982-83 (1996). Oil on linen, 35 3/4 x 23 3/4 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of the Artist's family, 1996.3. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Wayne Thiebaud, Boston Cremes, 1962. Oil on canvas, 14 x 18 in. Crocker Art Museum Purchase, 1964.22. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud /Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Wayne Thiebaud, Park Place, 1995. Color etching hand-worked with watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, graphite, and pastel, 29 9/16 x 20 3/4 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of the Artist's family, 1995.9.50. © 2021 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

To honor the 100th birthday of celebrated artist Wayne Thiebaud, the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, is organizing Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings. This major retrospective will represent the artist’s achievements in all media, with works drawn from the Crocker’s holdings and the artist’s personal inventory. Opening at the Crocker in October 2020, the exhibition will travel to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens (Memphis, TN) and the Toledo Museum of Art before opening at the Brandywine in February 2022.

Thiebaud has enjoyed a rich, diverse career that has brought him national and international recognition. He began as a commercial artist, working briefly for Walt Disney Studios and on Madison Avenue before gaining acclaim for his still life paintings of desserts in the early 1960s. While best known for these exuberant paintings of pies, cakes, and other sugary treats modeled in thick, luscious impasto, he is equally accomplished in depicting other subjects. Thiebaud has long rendered people, doing so in beautifully realized figure studies and paintings. As in his still-life works, he typically portrays his human subjects against white or pale backgrounds and intensifies the sense of isolation of each figure from one another.   

Over time, landscapes have appeared with increasing frequency in Thiebaud’s paintings and works on paper. Urban views have been especially important since the late 1970s, when Thiebaud began a series of dizzying San Francisco cityscapes. These led to aerial views of Sacramento’s river delta and agricultural terrain and then to more recent solitary mountain scenes.     

While Thiebaud has been the subject of numerous exhibitions on the West coast and to some degree in New York, his work is less known in our region. This exhibition will allow viewers in the Brandywine/Philadelphia area and beyond the opportunity to see firsthand Thiebaud’s enormously popular work executed in his singular style and palette.

The exhibition is being curated by Scott A. Shields, Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Crocker Art Museum, and will consist of 100 paintings, prints and drawings. Many of the works have never been exhibited publicly.  A richly illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition. Spanning his entire career, Wayne Thiebaud 100 celebrates the breadth of the artist’s accomplishments at a momentous occasion in his life.