Friday, October 31, 2014

Wayne Thiebaud – some inspirations for the new year

January 4, 2010 by  
Filed under interviews

More than any other painter, Wayne Thiebaud makes me smile when I see his work. He is not only one of the world’s greatest living painters but he also seems the best way to start the new year. There is an affirmation of life in his obvious joy of paint and color together with his masterly drawing makes his paintings unforgettable. At 88 he is still going strong, his recent work of beach scenes and landscapes show he is continuing to investigate and push his painting still further.
I recently saw the delightful show “Wayne Thiebaud: 70 years of Painting” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (up until Jan. 31) I was in a great mood all week after seeing the incredible range of subjects and explorations painted over the past 70 years. There is an excellent book (printed in 2000) with very good reproductions: Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective from Amazon by Steven A. Nash and Adam Gopnik

Podcast with Wayne Thiebaud and Adam Gopnik
 

I found these two very good videos and a podcast with an excellent interview. Listening to him talking about his life and painting here has also been inspiring and gives some great food for thought. In particular, the podcast interview with Adam Gopnik ( art critic from the New Yorker magazine) (almost 1 hour) from KALW at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center was particularly engaging. If you haven’t yet heard this you are in for a treat.

Also, a good article by Ben Bamsey about his Wayne Thiebaud can be read in this ArtWorks Magazine article from fall 2009.

another interview with Wayne Thiebaud (with Colin Smith) The difference between a Wolf and a Dog.

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Comments

13 Responses to “Wayne Thiebaud – some inspirations for the new year”
  1. TDK says:

    Wonderful art and he seems to be a nice guy too,,, hope to see these paintings IRL some day.

    I dunno, I have always loved his work, they just do it for me,,, so full of joy and mystery.

    Thanks again Larry for your work on this site.

  2. Paula says:

    Very Cool! Doubt I would have been aware of these interviews if not for this website! Thank you, I deeply appreciate this.
    Mr. Thiebaud is a true artist, although his works are famous, he comes across as down to earth kind of a guy. That is a fine artist for you.

  3. Philip Koch says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Thiebaud some years back when he came to the Maryland Institute College of Art and gave a great talk on his work. I’ve always been impressed by his sensitive drawings and paintings but also found his down to earth quality most refreshing. Good to see you don’t have to be a noodlehead to be a respected artist.

  4. Neil Plotkin says:

    I’ve finally gotten through most of your links and videos (its a lot and they’re great – thanks!!). Like most artists, I went through a phase of loving Thiebaud (how could you not). But having never heard him speak or read any interviews with him, I had no idea how articulate and thoughtful he is. As both Paula and Philip Koch have noted, he seems incredibly down to earth. This on the heals of your interview with Michael Kareken who also seems very down to earth and your interview with Eric Aho who also seems straight forward (and all the comments about Dickenson by former students). It makes me wonder if many of the artists that you review on this blog make a type of work where that forthright approach comes through in the work.

    • Larry says:

      Neil Plotkin said:

      … Like most artists, I went through a phase of loving Thiebaud (how could you not). But having never heard him speak or read any interviews with him, I had no idea how articulate and thoughtful he is. As both Paula and Philip Koch have noted, he seems incredibly down to earth. This on the heals of your interview with Michael Kareken who also seems very down to earth and your interview with Eric Aho who also seems straight forward (and all the comments about Dickenson by former students). It makes me wonder if many of the artists that you review on this blog make a type of work where that forthright approach comes through in the work.

      Interesting comment Neil, I’m glad you liked the interviews, sorry I haven’t had a chance to write until now. I can only guess whether or not an artist is likely to be down to earth and just pull it together for the interview – and are pretentious, crazy or verbally challenged when your back is turned! (just kidding)

      I like to believe that painters who paint representationally and/or work from perception are more likely to be reality based in their thinking. (But there are likely some realist painters weird enough to prove this theory completely wrong!) Maybe it’s that they get outside more and interact with people other than just art students. Or maybe it’s the tendency to not push big convoluted “art theories” to define or rationalize their artwork and let the work speak for itself. Many of these painter’s like Thiebaud seem to be mainly interesting in good painting and less concerned about painting being a flag for some cause.

  5. Great artist! I remember seeing his retrospective at the Whitney about ten years ago…really impressive. His paint handling is so confident and luscious. I really enjoyed seeing his recent pastoral landscapes. Thanks again for the posts

  6. What a great interview on the podcast with Adam Gopnick…truly some great words of wisdom from a contemporary painting master. Thanks again!

  7. jade says:

    thanks for this Larry! you are right, it’s inspirational.

  8. ZIP says:

    His attitude is interesting. ‘I don’t know what art is, but I am painter and like to paint this stuff.’ I’ve seen the same quasi low-brown approach in George Nick, Paul Rahilly, and many others, differentiating art from painting. Very blue collar.

  9. James Day says:

    What a great artist and how beautiful his work is. Wonderful art and very inspiring!

  10. Kathryn Law says:

    This is such a fantastic post. The Ben Bamsey link has changed, maybe he updated it:
    http://artworksmagazine.com/2010/03/wayne-thiebaud/

    The podcast is a real treat, as you said! Thank you so much for putting this together.

  11. Sally Felton says:

    I’m investigating Wayne Thiebaud for my students here in Costa Rica, and learning a lot myself. What a fascinating body of work. His use of color can be intoxicating and the still-lifes of foods are delicious! Fascinating city & landscapes compositions.
    But all artworks must have the following information as supplied in museums: TITLE, MATERIALS-TECHNIQUES, DATE & SIZE. This is enormously important in Thiebaud’s work: he uses a very wide range of graphic techniques such as lithography, etchings, with drypoint & aquatint, woodcut, drypoint and, even though many of the works SEEM to be oils, I have come across acrylics. SUGAR CONES is a sugar-lift and soft-ground etching with later hand-coloring — a technique I’ve never heard of!
    By having the date & other information, I’ve found that, unlike other artists who work in a series focused on theme or subject matter, materials–techniques and style, and then move onto another series (look at Picasso!) Thibaud returns to his favorites.

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