Wayne Thiebaud is one of my absolute favorite artists, and I had the chance to see his latest exhibit Wayne Thiebaud 70 Years of Painting at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, which closed this weekend. The works were stunning. Imagine walking into a room of painted delicatessen goodies that look so delicious your stomach audibly grumbles. Gazing at the pies, cakes, and donuts in the painted bakery counters made me seriously want to run off for pastries after the show. There were bananas bursting with so much color they looked practically jewel encrusted. Candied apples were painted with such deep reds they seemed to drip right off their sticks. The cheeses were life-sized creations with paint so buttery I wanted to devour it. And the landscapes! The landscapes were a dizzying collection of crooked San Francisco streets that dropped off at impossible angles and wild curves, making you feel as though you were about to tip over.
A prolific painter born in 1920, with hundreds of paintings to his name, Thiebaud is often grouped with the pop art movement, although one look at his paintings is all it takes to tell that he is truly in a category of his own. With his use of intense colors and deep shadows that almost seem to form their own shapes, Thiebaud’s work is amazingly beautiful.