Friday, February 8, 2008

Wayne Thiebaud

I don’t write about a lot of artists who are still living or even who worked in the last century because I can’t show you images of their work. This is because of copy write law. I fully support the rights of artists to their work and so, even though others online, who may not have permission, have posted copies of copy writed art, I will not. I will, instead, direct you to another site where you can look at the artwork.

Wayne Thiebaud (whose name is pronounced Tee-Bow, just like the Gators’ quarterback), was born in 1920 and is still living. He began his art career as a cartoonist and designer before becoming an artist in the U.S. Navy. In 1960 he became an associate professor and continued to teach students for nearly 20 years.

While he was with the Navy Thiebaud spent time in New York (on leave) and began painting the pastries and other “American” food that he would become known for. He was very interested in creating realistic paintings and he did this by using thick paint in exaggerated colors. When he painted cakes, for example, he applied the paint like a baker would spread frosting. The food in his paintings looks real enough to eat. Go judge for yourself here, here, here, and here.

Thiebaud is sometimes grouped in with the “Pop Artists” because he painting subjects from popular culture (like cakes, gumball machines, and ice cream Sundays) but actually he began his work before the Pop Artists. It is probable that he was an inspiration to the movement.

Thiebaud painted other subjects but it is the delicious looking foods that are his best known pieces. You can create your own masterpiece in the style of Thiebaud. Go to Art Projects for Kids for a great art project.

For those of you home schoolers, check out the National Gallery of Art’s math lesson which uses Thiebaud’s painting Cakes to illustrate fractions.

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