Wayne Thiebaud on the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Artwork in 2016. Photograph: Gregory Urquiaga

Wayne Thiebaud, internationally often called the dean of West Coast Figurative painters who additionally was credited with originating Pop artwork, died Saturday, Dec. 25, in Sacramento, his principal residence because the Nineteen Fifties. He was 101.

His loss of life was confirmed by his gallery, Acquavella.

“Even at 101 years previous, he nonetheless spent most days within the studio, pushed by, as he described along with his attribute humility, ‘this virtually neurotic fixation of attempting to be taught to color,’ ” the gallery’s assertion mentioned.

Leaders within the artwork world and critics credited Thiebaud (pronounced “Tee-bo”), amongst others, with originating Pop artwork and lengthening the lineage of Bay Space Figuration, the area’s emblematic model.

“We now have misplaced a legendary artist in addition to a really shut, sort, and beneficiant good friend with the passing of Wayne Thiebaud,” Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Trendy Artwork, informed The Chronicle. “Wayne has for thus lengthy held a beloved place in our hearts and our galleries. He might be deeply missed by us all.”

Thiebaud’s high-keyed work of foodstuffs, deli and bakery show circumstances and unusual objects comparable to sneakers and lipsticks turned icons of the late twentieth century American mass cravings for pleasure and optimism. He merely noticed himself as a form of chronicler of on a regular basis stuff.

“In fact, you’re grateful when anybody ever calls you something,” he as soon as mentioned. “However I by no means felt a lot part of it. I have to say I by no means actually preferred Pop artwork very a lot.”

“Untitled (cupcakes), 1999” by Wayne Thiebaud Photograph: Berggruen Gallery

As an alternative, Thiebaud noticed himself as belonging to longer and extra cosmopolitan artwork traditions that put little inventory in stylistic labels or divisions between high quality and useful artwork. Skilled as an illustrator and animator, he took an artisanal view of picture-making and preferred to order the time period “artwork” for less than essentially the most felicitous performances of a mainly task-oriented follow: make a portrait, describe an object, set a scene, actual or imaginary.

“I need to have the ability to paint any rattling factor I need at any time, in any method that I need to do it,” he informed The Chronicle in 2018. “I don’t need to develop a product or a picture.”

On Sunday, Dec. 26, Gov. Gavin Newsom famous that model.

“From gumball machines to the landscapes of San Francisco, he remodeled on a regular basis life into an iconic assertion of colour and type,” the governor mentioned in a press release.

He known as Thiebaud “a loyal Sacramentan” who gave again to Californians as an artwork professor, including, “Thiebaud was the delight of California, and an incredible present to the world.”

Wayne Thiebaud, “Buffet,” 1972-1975, oil on canvas. Present of Jon and Shanna Brooks to San Francisco Museum of Trendy Artwork. Photograph: Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York / Katherine Du Tiel

Thiebaud’s most generally seen work included cowl illustrations for the New Yorker and a 1994 design for a California license plate that implicitly identifies a automobile’s proprietor as a cultural insider.

However the improbable landscapes from his mid- to late profession, impressed by San Francisco’s most hilly streets or by the Central Valley’s patchwork of furrowed fields and river meanders, toy with perspective and allusive floor designs in methods absolutely appreciated solely by viewers conversant with trendy artwork’s historical past.

“The streetscapes are among the many most summary work that Thiebaud makes,” mentioned retired Chronicle visible artwork critic Charles Desmarais. “By them, we get a greater sense of how his mind works and his understanding of type. That helps us perceive his extra well-liked works just like the truffles and pies.”

Wayne Thiebaud noticed the streets of San Francisco like nobody else

Wayne Thiebaud’s “Road and Shadow,” 1982-1983 (1996). Photograph: Thiebaud, Wayne / Crocker Artwork Museum

In 2001, the Fantastic Arts Museums of San Francisco organized “Wayne Thiebaud: A Work Retrospective,” which traveled to museums in Texas, New York Metropolis and Washington. D.C. The San Francisco Museum of Trendy Artwork had staged a profession survey in 1985, and the Palm Springs Artwork Museum and San Jose Museum of Artwork collaborated on one other in 2009 and ’10.

Additionally in 2010, the Museo Morandi in Bologna, Italy, organized an exhibition, which traveled later to Vienna, that set Thiebaud’s nonetheless life work alongside these of considered one of his inventive heroes, painter and printmaker Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), whom he by no means met, however a number of of whose works he owned.

For his a hundredth birthday final 12 months, the Crocker Artwork Museum in Sacramento and the Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco marked the milestone with main exhibitions displaying his work.

In fact Wayne Thiebaud is planning to color on his a hundredth birthday

Attending to know Wayne Thiebaud because the painter turns 100

Thiebaud curated work for SFMOMA’s assortment in September 2018. Photograph: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle 2018

Thiebaud specialist and good friend John Berggruen, who acquired the information of Thiebaud’s passing on Sunday whereas vacationing in Hawaii, mentioned that “other than his extraordinary expertise and imaginative and prescient, he was maybe essentially the most gracious, charming, eloquent and inspirational figures that I’ve ever recognized.”

Berggruen had proven Thiebaud’s work shortly after opening John Berggruen Gallery on Union Sq. in 1970, one of many first of eight or 9 solo reveals that consumed the whole gallery, he mentioned.

“Any time we’ve offered a Thiebaud exhibition there was an enthusiastic response from shoppers, supporters and curators,” Berggruen mentioned. “His work appealed to lots of people’s sensibilities. He had a really constructive tackle mundane and banal topics, like pies and truffles. However past that his sensibility relating to the California panorama.”

Previously decade, costs for main work by Thiebaud, at public sale and even in gallery reveals, handed the seven-figure mark. A prolific printmaker who labored often with San Francisco’s Crown Level Press, Thiebaud additionally produced comparatively reasonably priced works in editions for many years.

“Giant Pool, 2006” by Wayne Thiebaud. Photograph: Berggruen Gallery

Born Morton Wayne Thiebaud in Mesa, Ariz., on Nov. 15, 1920, Thiebaud grew up in Lengthy Seaside and Utah, the place his father, an engineer and inventor, had moved the household in the course of the Melancholy to take up farming.

Thiebaud started drawing as an adolescent whereas recovering from an incapacitating sports activities harm. Whereas nonetheless attending highschool in Lengthy Seaside, he took courses in business artwork and labored summers as an apprentice animator at Walt Disney Studios.

Army service throughout World Struggle II interrupted the formal training that Thiebaud had begun at Lengthy Seaside Junior School (now Lengthy Seaside Metropolis School). From 1941 to 1945, he served in Northern and Southern California on navy tasks that used his expertise in graphic arts.

“I turned an airplane mechanic whereas ready for pilot coaching. Within the interim, I discovered some guys working in cartoons and poster making. I used to be amazed that such a factor existed within the service,” he informed The Chronicle in 2018.

Betty Jean Thiebaud and husband Wayne Thiebaud Photograph: Ray “Scotty” Morris / Particular to The Chronicle

In 1943, he married Patricia Patterson and had two daughters, Twinka and Mallary Ann. However he finally divorced Patterson in 1959 and married Betty Jean Carr. Collectively they raised her sons, Matthew and Mark Bult. The couple’s personal son, Paul Thiebaud, who died of most cancers at 49 in 2010, established galleries in his personal identify in San Francisco and New York that represented his father’s work. The household continues to function the San Francisco venue.

After a go away of absence spent in Manhattan, which introduced him into contact with the nice painters and critics of the New York College, Thiebaud acquired his large profession break in 1962, with a New York solo present on the Allan Stone Gallery, a fruitful affiliation that might proceed till Stone’s loss of life in 2006.

He additionally went again to high school, learning at San Jose State School (now College) and California State School (now College) in Sacramento. Whereas finishing his grasp of high quality arts diploma at Sacramento Junior (now Metropolis) School, Thiebaud started his personal lengthy and distinguished educating profession there.

He was a longtime professor at UC Davis too. Thiebaud was thought of the star on what turned a well-known artwork division school that included Robert Arneson, William T. Wiley, Roy De Forest and Manuel Neri. He formally retired in 1991, however continued educating one class a 12 months on the college.

“Wayne Thiebaud had a profound and lasting affect on our college, however his legacy transcends UC Davis,” Chancellor Gary S. Might mentioned in a press release. “He was a superb artist, and his work will endlessly encourage us to see our world in a extra textural gentle, the place frequent objects can ascend to profound and iconic heights.”

Throughout his tenure, Thiebaud was awarded the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Educating and Scholarly Achievemen, in 1988; the UC Davis Medal, the college’s highest honor, in 1988; and the Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation, in 2016.

“Educating on the college turned my training,” he mentioned at age 98.

Thiebaud at SFMOMA in September 2018. Photograph: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle 2018

Thiebaud was additionally thought of a patron saint of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Artwork, which opened in 2016 at UC Davis.

“Wayne Thiebaud believed educating and studying had been life’s most necessary pursuits,” mentioned Rachel Teagle, founding director of Manetti Shrem. “He liked to learn, talk about, and look collectively along with his college students.”

Timothy Anglin Burgard, distinguished senior curator and Ednah Root curator answerable for American artwork on the Fantastic Arts Museums of San Francisco, which owns 5 Thiebaud work in its everlasting assortment and has two at present on show, mentioned Thiebaud “is rightly famend as a painter’s painter who sustained the relevance and resonance of figuration regardless of the arrival and demise of dozens of summary artwork manifestos and actions. He might be remembered as a quintessentially American artist who not solely augmented the historical past of artwork, but in addition plumbed its deepest depths, drawing resonant hyperlinks between the previous and the current.”

Among the many different awards in recognition of his work as artist and educator, Thiebaud was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, acquired the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement within the Arts, and the Nationwide Medal of Arts. He acquired honorary doctorates from Dickinson School, the San Francisco Artwork Institute, the Artwork Institute of Southern California and California State College Sacramento.

Thiebaud is survived by his daughters, Twinka Thiebaud and Mallary Ann Thiebaud, from his first marriage; son, Matt Bult, from his second marriage; and 6 grandchildren.

The Related Press contributed to this report.



  • Sam Whiting and Kenneth Baker


    Sam Whiting and Kenneth Baker

    Sam Whiting is a San Francisco Chronicle workers author, and Kenneth Baker, who died this 12 months, was a former visible artwork critic at The Chronicle.