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A Tribute to Wayne Thiebaud

Sunday, January 9, 2022
1:00pm Pacific Time
KQED Broadcast: 01/09/2022

We've made a recording of this event free to all. Please support our institution and these productions by making a tax-deductible contribution.

California-based painter Wayne Thiebaud was best known for his playful depictions of commonplace commodities and confections. Blending his interests in cartooning, graphic design, and pop art, Thiebaud developed his own unique use of color and shadow and became prominent in the Bay Area Figurative Movement. And while he did not consider himself a pop artist, Thiebaud was often associated with the movement. 

It’s his cherry topped cakes, lush with frosting, and brightly hued slices of pie that first come to mind for many of his fans. The pleasures of diners and dessert carts, rendered in thick paint, evoke a bygone era. But what could be misinterpreted as saccharine nostalgia is often cut through by a sort of sadness — the blue shadow around a plate or the downward gaze of a pair of swimmers.  Thiebaud’s landscapes, showcasing  the steep streets of San Francisco, and the golden hills of California, feature an intensity of light and color, as well as his distinctive brushwork and lush paint.
Wayne Thiebaud died on December 25, 2021 at the age of 101. The artist worked  until the end of his life — he was one-hundred in August of 2020 when The New Yorker magazine featured one of his iconic ice cream cones as its cover image.  

In honor of the vibrant life and work of the California legend, we are re-broadcasting his conversation with Wendy Lesser, originally recorded at the Herbst Theater on April 20th, 2005.