Fine Cartoon Art

exaggerated, in a good way

Wayne Thiebaud: This Week’s Fine Cartoon Artist

Posted by jtebeau on October 11, 2010

 

"Lemon Cake" (1964) by Wayne Thiebaud

 

I like looking at Wayne Thiebaud‘s paintings. I mean, seriously – how could you not? The colors are vibrant as the sun shining into a Laguna Beach bakery window at 10 a.m. And the subject matter is often dessert. What’s not to like?

But one time someone said to me, “What is there to his work? What’s it ABOUT?” Well, it’s about still-lifes. And light. And beaches. And peace.

His colors are hyper-real. His subjects are outlined, and often “haloed” in warm tones. Thiebaud’s art is rooted in the fundamentals of cartooning: solid composition, strong lines and bold colors. And that makes sense when you know his back-story.

Thiebaud grew up out west and in his teens briefly worked at the Disney studios. In the Army he drew a comic strip for the Sacramento base newspaper. He also worked as a cartoonist for the Rexall Drug Company in Los Angeles. He wound up teaching art at the little UC campus in Davis, CA, about as far from the Aht World as you could be. This allowed him to do his thing, which was basically representational pop art. His signature maneuver is slathering the paint onto the canvas like frosting (which is at times only fitting), creating what former student and current Director of the Yale University Art Gallery Jock Reynolds calls “the most tactile and sensuous visual compositions imaginable.”

That’s what it’s about, my friend. And Mr. Thiebaud’s still doing it, painting twice a day at age 90.

 

"Bakery Case" by Wayne Thiebaud

 

 

"Fields and Furrows" by Wayne Thiebaud

 

The New York Times ran a nice piece about him recently. Another nice piece:

 

"Lemon Meringue Pie" by W. Thiebaud

 

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4 Responses to “Wayne Thiebaud: This Week’s Fine Cartoon Artist”

  1. mikesorgatz said

    excellent! anybody who likes pie that much can’t be all bad 🙂

  2. Jessica said

    He is a very good artist but it makes me hungry lookin at them

    • jtebeau said

      I agree, Jessica. You can also look at his landscapes, but you wouldn’t wanna eat ’em. Check some out. They’re pretty cool. So are his figures and portraits, I think.

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