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Wayne Thiebaud

November 15, 1920 - December 25, 2021


American painter and draughtsman Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona. Thiebaud and his family moved a year later to Southern California, where he was in love with art from the very beginning. When he attended high school, stage design and lighting attracted him immediately. In his early years, Thiebaud had a variety of jobs including creating posters for lobbies of movie theaters, taking an apprenticeship at Walt Disney Studios in the animation department, and serving in the Air Force in the Special Services Unit. Around the time Thiebaud was in the Air Force in the Special Services Unit, he served as their animator and cartoonist. During that time, Thiebaud moved up in the ranks, as per President Reagan’s instructions, to First Air Motion Picture Unit.

Shortly after leaving the Air Force, he began to experiment with painting. He created works that ranged from food to everyday life; he painted everything he saw, from what he imagined, from his memories, and from life. Thiebaud used heavy brushstrokes and often contrasting colors along with unusual compositions.  Occasionally, he used many colors and lines in his works.

Although he could be considered an influencer, Thiebaud did not consider his work to be part of the Pop Art Movement. He did not mass produce his art as many Pop artists such as Andy Warhol did and he started painting commercial goods (in his case bakery cases and cakes) earlier than they did.  He received a number of awards during his life, and had many retrospectives, his art is found in many museum collections, including Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum, NYC’s Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

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