Wayne Thiebaud

Biography

Wayne Thiebaud (born 1920) is an American artist best known for dragging rich layers of paint like so much icing on the luscious cakes and desserts that made his still-life paintings famous. Thiebaud also painted large-scale portraits, Northern California landscapes (he lives in Sacramento), and San Francisco cityscapes where streets become vertiginous exercises in geometric abstraction. But the artist spent much of his childhood in Long Beach, and he still has a house in Laguna Beach, the subject of a series of paintings populated by bathers — a theme that permeates art history, from Paul Cezanne to David Hockney. 

Thiebaud executed this particular painting in Mexico, where in the early 1960s he created a series of works featuring beach scenes. One beach-themed painting featuring a hot-dog stand was among five of his works that appeared on covers of New Yorker magazine. His paintings capture a distinctly coastal experience, with the idyllic landscape and a Utopian sensibility where his figures play and relax on the soft sand amid crashing waves crash and the rocky coastline. In 2007, a survey exhibition at Laguna Art Museum emphasized the artist’s life on the California coast; it was an autobiographical pursuit that underscored the show’s title, American Memories.

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