Wayne Thiebaud

Art history, personal life stories and an excess of confectionery – Ed Schad on the extra-believable paintings of the ninety-five-year-old painter

By Ed Schad

Morning Freeway, 2012–13, oil on canvas, 122 × 91 cm. Courtesy Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco Black Shoes, 1983, oil on paper, 29 × 33 cm. Courtesy Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco Dessert Circle, 1992–4, oil on panel, 54 × 46 cm. Courtesy Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco Suckers and Sweets, 2000, oil on canvas, 63 × 77 cm. Courtesy Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco

After visiting with Wayne Thiebaud in his studio, a one-storey metal building about a kilometre from the California State Capitol, I seized upon his painting from 1969 called Peking Ducks in Thiebaud’s recent Rizzoli monograph. The artist had directed me to it, saying that “a great number of things [in the book] haven’t been seen before”, and I had never seen Peking Ducks.During the visit, Thiebaud told me about his relationship with Willem de Kooning. In 1956, Thiebaud took a…

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