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Art Diary

Wayne Thiebaud

20 January 2023

From studies of lipsticks and paint cans to sprawling cityscapes, the paintings of Wayne Thiebaud (1920–2021) instilled everyday life with irony and humour. This exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler (29 January–21 May 2023) is the first survey of the late American painter’s work in a German-speaking country and takes in the full breadth of his career. Bringing together 65 works, the exhibition considers how the artist’s early interest in comics and cartoons, as well as a brief stint spent working in the animation department at Walt Disney Studios, informed his practice. Works such as Student (1968) demonstrate Thiebaud’s knack for portraiture, while more abstract works such as Pie Rows (1961), which depicts successive lines of neatly arranged plates of pie, reveals the artist’s fascination with American consumerism. Meanwhile, 35 Cent Masterworks (1970), a painting of a newspaper rack holding 12 famous paintings including such as Mondrian’s Tableau No. IV (1924–25) and Monet’s Waterlilies (1914–26), each selling for 35 cents, pays homage to some of the artists Thiebaud admired. Find out more on the Fondation Beyeler’s website.

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Student (1968), Wayne Thiebaud. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Katherine Du Tiel; © Wayne Thiebaud Foundation/2022, ProLitteris, Zurich

Two Paint Cans (1987), Wayne Thiebaud. Wayne Thiebaud Foundation. Photo: Matthew Krœning; © Wayne Thiebaud Foundation/2022, ProLitteris, Zurich

Eating Figures (1963), Wayne Thiebaud. Courtesy Acquavella Galleries; © Wayne Thiebaud Foundation/2022, ProLitteris, Zurich